Astichopus is a monotypic genus of sea cucumbers, the only species in the genus being Astichopus multifidus. It is commonly known as the furry sea cucumber or the fissured sea cucumber and is native to the Caribbean Sea.
Astichopus multifidus is found on sandy seabeds near reefs and occasionally in seagrass meadows, at depths ranging between 10 and 30 meters.
Astichopus multifidus spends the day buried in the sand, emerging at night to feed. It is a scavenger and detritivore and ingests large quantities of sediment from which organic matter is extracted as it passes through its gut. It can move much more rapidly than most sea cucumbers and can cover almost 2 m (6 ft) in a minute. Locomotion is mostly by crawling or rolling, but fast progress can be made by "bounding".
Astichopus multifidus is a robust, soft-bodied species growing to a maximum length of 40 cm (16 in) and width of 10 cm (4 in). Both its dorsal and ventral surfaces are uniformly covered with hundreds of tube feet, those on the dorsal surface being extended into papillae, fleshy conical projections about 1 cm (0.4 in) long with tube feet at their tips. This sea cucumber is chocolate brown or dark grey, sometimes mottled with paler patches or speckled with many small white spots.
Stichopus multifidus Sluiter, 1910
Classification: Biota > Animalia (Kingdom) > Echinodermata (Phylum) > Echinozoa (Subphylum) > Holothuroidea (Class) > Aspidochirotida (Order) > Stichopodidae (Family) > Astichopus (Genus) > Astichopus multifidus (Species)