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Discovery Magazine 5/1/2003

A Fish That Eats it’s “Vegetables”

If you have ever been swimming in the ocean, you might have seen something on the ocean floor that looked like a cucumber. Of course, this was not the long, green vegetable that we slice and eat in salads. The thing you saw was actually called a sea cu-cumber. Sea cucumbers are animals that look much like a normal cucumber, but they have long, leathery bodies with no arms or legs. They are very plentiful in the ocean. In fact, there are hundreds of different species of sea cucumber. Many of them get their food by swallowing sand or mud and filtering out any food particles. After they filter the sand or mud, they send it back into the ocean all cleaned up.

Because sea cucumbers do not move very quickly, they are a perfect target for parasites. There is one fish called the pearl fish that is very irritating to the sea cucumber. It seems that the young pearl fish swims inside the cucumber’s body through the opening where the cucumber sends out the sand or mud. Once the pearl fish makes its home inside the sea cucumber, it begins to nibble and eat the internal organs of the cucumber.

For most animals, if a fish were eating its internal organs, that would be certain death, but not for the sea cucumber. God has given the sea cucumber an amazing defense against the pearl fish and other predators that may attack it. The sea cucumber can turn itself inside out and shoot out its internal organs, forcing the pearl fish to leave its “house.” Gross, you may say! Yes, it is quite disgusting. And you might think that the sea cucumber would die in a few days, but it doesn’t. God designed the sea cucumber so that it can grow back its organs in just a few weeks.

It would be impossible for the sea cucumber to evolve such a marvelous line of defense. Evolution is not a good enough explanation for such amazing design in nature. Only God is wise enough to design a defense system that protects the sea cucumber from the little fish that eats its “vegetables.”

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