The good old sea cucumber. Looking at this photo it is no wonder Italians have nicknamed these creatures 'sea turds'. On our hunt for signs of sea life this weekend we didn't find much--not a crab, not a fish, but plenty of these not so appealing creatures. As soon as you poke at one with a net it will secrete a milky substance that is both sticky and a mild irritant to the skin (if you look closely at the photo you can see the stuff). For this reason we usually avoid them. But, these guys are slow and therefore an easy catch and the little boy was thrilled about picking one up with his net all on his own. So, we spent spent a little time celebrating the catch before placing him back in the water and only then could we see how quickly sea cucumbers will move if pushed to find a new hiding spot. I have feeling our poor sea cucumbers will be seeing a lot of my son's net this summer as he practices his fishing skills!
A final word on sea cucumbers: apparently they live in most sea waters and move across sea bottoms in large herds. I don't know about you but I find the thought of thousands of these guys moving as a single mass a bit frightening!