ECHINODERMATA : DENDROCHIROTIDA : CucumariidaeSTARFISH, SEA URCHINS, ETC.

Ocnus planci (Brandt, 1835)


Description: A brown epifaunal sea cucumber with a smooth skin and 10 small tentacles. In larger specimens the tube-feet are in five double rows but a small, apparently neotenous form (called Ocnus brunneus) is known which looks exactly like Ocnus lactea but is brown. The two species often occur together. The spicules are knobbly but have more than 4 holes. Up to 8cm, neotenous form 1cm.

Habitat: Not well-defined but apparently epifaunal on algae, shells, worm-tubes and other sessile invertebrates in sheltered sites.

Distribution: Western coasts of the British Isles, Irish Sea and Dogger Bank. Further distribution includes the Mediterranean. Apparently the small neotenous form, which is believed to only reproduce by transverse division, has a more northerly distribution than the normal, sexually reproducing form. Confusion with Ocnus lactea has resulted in information about these species being mixed up.

Similar Species: See comments above about Ocnus lactea.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map from BioMar data for Ireland - Google Earth map:  download this placemark (not got Google Earth installed?)

Distribution Map from NBN: Grid map (fast) : Interactive map (slow, requires login to view records) : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.


 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C., 2010. [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland
http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZB4850

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