from the specimen drawer

from the specimen drawer

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Donkey Dung Sea Cuke Limerick

Cliff actually chose a Limerick and wants one about sea cucumbers. So here it is- hope you enjoy it!

Ode to Holothuria mexicana

There was a cucumber well hung
Who went by the name Donkey Dung
into bioturbation
and gut expellation
Concombres de mer are such fun!

To see a photo of the Donkey Dung sea cucumber from the Marine Species Identification Portal go to:

In searching for inspiration for my Limerick I discovered some very interesting things. Did you know that you can order dried sea cucumbers! One seller says "Any potential buyer are encourage to meet me freely in bandung to see the products before decide to buy. Order above 1 ton will have a discount." Wow! How fast can I get to Bandung?! Which by the way is in Indonesia. It is probably no surprise that sea cucumbers are a food most enjoyed in Asian countries, China in particular. (They do seem to be enamored with aphrodesiac food things and clearly sea cucumbers have that power!)

Here is one photo I found of some of the fine echinoderm product (from

YUMMY! So there is of course a fishery for these animals. Here are two interesting links that can tell you more, one from Alaska's Department of Fish and Game and one from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community

And finally, in the event that you are planning a romantic dinner here is a link to a recipe for braised sea cucumber:

Something to keep in mind... this recipe gives the impression that cooking sea cucumbers is an easy thing, however, from other articles I have read regarding the prepartion of dried sea cucumbers, there can be a lot more involved than throwing them into a little sauce. For example, soaking them for days, with periodic water changes to get them tender enough to eat.
Apparently they can rehydrate to 10 times their dried size (hmmm...). So if you are brave enough to order and try eating these ugly things, good luck! And let me know how they taste!!


  1. great post... there's a tremendous harvesting effort of sea cukes throughout the western pacific to meet market demands for cukes to asian markets and consumers... unfortunately, as with many marine resources, sea cukes are now becoming endangered...

    in fact, papua new guinea just approved a 3-year ban on any further harvesting of cukes in order to ensure species survival...

  2. Thanks Rick- sadly it is hard to get people to feel sympathy or concern for sea cucumbers. The Alaskan fishery seems pretty well regulated and the link I posted to the Pacific Islands site discusses those issues that you mention- how to manage the problem of overfishing, especially when populations are being harvested illegaly and probably will continue to be considering many of these fishermen barely eek out a living.