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Pictured: A diver underwater collecting sea cucumbers, Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar, Andaman Sea, Indian Ocean.<br />
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This spiky sea-cucumber looks like a giant slug, but it is in fact collected by divers to sell as a delicacy believed to have many health benefits.<br />
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The huge marine animal is around 1m long and uses its spiked tentacles to feed.<br />
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A villager, known locally as a 'sea gypsy,' can be seen collecting sea cucumbers in a netted bag as he walks 30m underwater on the sea bed.<br />
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The sea cucumbers are then dried, usually by the villagers who find them, on the sand for preservation before they are sold.<br />
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Sea cucumbers are seen as a delicacy of high value throughout east and southeast Asia, particularly in China<br />
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These particular sea cucumbers were found around islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, which photographer Franco Banfi visited.<br />
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© Franco Banfi/Solent News & Photo Agency<br />
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