Language English Northern sea cucumber (orange-footed sea cucumber) Photo: Biodôme OngletsDescriptionDistinguishing featuresThe northern sea cucumber has five rows of sucker tube feet or ambulacra. Ten tentacles surround its mouth. It can make its tentacles disappear by retracting them into its mouth. ReproductionThey reach sexual maturity at age three. In spring, the males eject sperm into the water to encourage the females to spawn. The eggs are fertilized in the water as they float through the milt. The larvae remain suspended in the water for 70 days before sinking to the bottom in early autumn. Diet Northern sea cucumbers feed on particulate matter and micro-organisms that they find on the bottom or suspended in the water. They secrete a mucous film around their tentacles to help them trap their food. PredatorsThey have few enemies, except for certain sea stars. Habitat Northern sea cucumber live in cold salt water at different depths. They are found in tidal pools and at depths of over 300 metres. Ecology, behaviourThese animals avoid their predators by hiding under kelp or in cracks in rocks. In October and November, northern sea cucumbers stop feeding and their organs atrophy. They regain their normal shape six weeks later. French nameConcombre de mer du Nord Scientific nameCucumaria frondosaPhylumEchinodermataClassHolothuroideaOrderDendrochirotidaFamilyCucumaridaeSizeLength in shallow water: 25 cm; length in deep water: 50 cmWeight1 kg (45-cm-long specimen)Life spanOver 8 yearsStatusCommon species, starting to be commercially exploited for food.