Aspidochirotida is an order of sea cucumbers.
Description and characteristics
They are distinguished from other sea cucumbers by the presence of flattened, often leaf-like tentacles, but without the other large appendages found in the related order Elasipodida. They do not have introvert or retractor muscles. The tube feet often form a clearly demarcated sole. They have 15-30 shield-shaped retractile tentacles surrounding their mouths. The body wall is thick and leathery and contains ossicles, including some table-shaped ones. They have respiratory trees for gas exchange. The mesentery of the posterior loop of their gut is attached to the right ventral interradius. The muscles that run longitudinally down the body are arranged into five double bands. They can shoot out sticky white threads known as cuvierian tubes from their cloacas in order to distract or entangle predators. They are usually found in exposed shallow-water environments.
List of families
- family Holothuriidae Burmeister, 1837 -- 5 genera, 200 species
- family Mesothuriidae Smirnov, 2012 -- 2 genera, 32 species
- family Stichopodidae Haeckel, 1896 -- 10 genera, 34 species
- family Synallactidae Ludwig, 1894 -- 18 genera, 122 species
- Hansson, Hans (2010). "Aspidochirotida". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- An illustrated key to the sea cucumbers of the South Atlantic Bight Retrieved 2012-02-12.
- Order Aspidochirotida Marine Species Identification Portal. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
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