A free-swimming sea cucumber moves through the freezing waters of a 10,515-ft (3,205-m) abyss in a “spectacular” image taken July 27, 2010, according to NOAA. The 1,250 known species of sea cucumbers—named for their distinctive shapes—live on or near deep ocean floors or dwell in the shallows.
When threatened, some sea cucumbers discharge sticky threads to ensnare their enemies. Others can mutilate their own bodies as a defense mechanism: The animals violently contract their muscles and jettison some of their internal organs out of their anuses. The missing body parts are quickly regenerated.