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Scotoplanes globosa1.jpg
Scotoplanes globosa.jpg
Scotoplanes globosa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Class: Holothuroidea
Order: Elasipodida
Family: Elpidiidae
Genus: Scotoplanes
Théel, 1882[1]

Scotoplanes, commonly known as the sea pig, is a genus of deep-sea sea cucumbers of the family Elpidiidae, order Elasipodida.


Members of the Elpidiidae have particularly enlarged tube feet that have taken on a leg-like appearance, using water cavities within the skin to inflate and deflate the appendages.[2]


Scotoplanes live on deep ocean bottoms, specifically on the abyssal plain in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, typically at depths of over 1200[3]–5000 meters.[4] Some related species can be found in the Antarctic. Scotoplanes (and all deep-sea holothurians) are deposit feeders, and obtain food by extracting organic particles from deep-sea mud. Scotoplanes globosa has been observed to demonstrate strong preferences for rich, organic food that has freshly fallen from the ocean's surface,[5] and uses olfaction to locate preferred food sources such as whale corpses.[6]

Scotoplanes, like many sea cucumbers, often occur in huge densities, sometimes numbering in the hundreds when observed. Early collections have recorded 300 to 600 individual specimens per trawl. Sea pigs are also known to host different parasitic invertebrates, including gastropods (snails) and small tanaid crustaceans.[citation needed]

A living Scotoplanes globosa from Monterey Bay with a juvenile Neolithoides diomedae king crab sheltering beneath it at a depth of approx. 1260 meters. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, 2016.


The genus includes the following species:[7]


  1. ^ Théel, H (1886). "Report on the Holothurioidea dredged by HMS Challenger during the years 1873-76". 
  2. ^ Hansen, B. (1972). "Photographic evidence of a unique type of walking in deep-sea holothurians". Deep-Sea Research and Oceanographic Abstracts. 19 (6): 461–462. doi:10.1016/0011-7471(72)90056-3. 
  3. ^ Barry, James P.; Taylor, Josi R.; Kuhnz, Linda A.; De Vogelaere, Andrew P. (2016-10-01). "Symbiosis between the holothurian Scotoplanes sp. A and the lithodid crab Neolithodes diomedeae on a featureless bathyal sediment plain". Marine Ecology: n/a–n/a. doi:10.1111/maec.12396. ISSN 1439-0485. 
  4. ^ Llano, George Biology of the Antarctic Seas III, Volume 11 of Antarctic research series, Volume 3 of Biology of the Antarctic seas, Issue 1579 of Publication (National Research Council (U.S.))) American Geophysical Union, 1967, p. 57
  5. ^ Miller, R. J.; Smith, C. R.; Demaster, D. J.; Fornes, W. L. (2000). "Feeding selectivity and rapid particle processing by deep-sea megafaunal deposit feeders: A 234Th tracer approach". Journal of Marine Research. 58 (4): 653. doi:10.1357/002224000321511061. 
  6. ^ Pawson, DL; Vance, DJ (2005). "Rynkatorpa felderi, new species, from a bathyal hydrocarbon seep in the northern Gulf of Mexico (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea: Apodida)". Zootaxa. Magnolia Press. 1050: 15–20. 
  7. ^ – Scotoplanes

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Ruhl, Henry A., and Kenneth L. Smith, Jr. "Go to Science." Science Magazine: Sign In. Science., 23 July 2004. Web. 1 May 2015. [1]

  1. ^ Ruhl, Henry A.; Smith, Kenneth L. Jr. (23 July 2004). "Shifts in Deep-Sea Community Structure Linked to Climate and Food Supply". Science. 305 (5683): 513–515. doi:10.1126/science.1099759. PMID 15273392. Retrieved 1 May 2015.