Not only does the sea cucumber have potential medical applications, it has also been immortalised in music and poetry.
In 2003 academic Robin Gill produced a 480 page book called Rise Ye Sea Slugs which brings together (possibly for the first time in English) around 1,000 haikus on the subject of our holothurian hero. Apparently they have been the subject of the Japanese poetry form for centuries this including this one from 1690:
This sea slug
is it too beastly for
And one from 1951 by Gijô
A few drinks
and I am a sea slug
out of water
(Taken from Danny Yee’s review of the book here). Wonderful stuff. I feel a purchase coming on!
More famous of course is Erik Satie’s composition Embryons desseches. The first movement is called holothurie and concentrates on the so-called purring of the holothurians (????). In his description on the score Satie wrote: “The Holothurian crawls across boulders and rocky surfaces. This sea-animal purrs like a cat; also, it produces disgusting silky threads. Light appears to have an incommodating effect on it.”
Make of that what you will. Sadly YouTube has no footage of it being played. It’s a shame also that no artist deigned to paint this versatile beast. Albrecht Durer painted a beautiful hare. I’m sure he could have done the Sea cucumber justice too!