sea cucumbers text index | photo index
Phylum Echinodermata > Class Holothuroidea
Little African sea cucumber
Afrocucumis africana*
Family Sclerodactylidae
updated Apr 2020
Where seen? This small purplish sea cucumber is sometimes seen under stones, particularly on our Northern shores. Usually alone, but sometimes several are seen together under one stone. According to Teo Siyang, these are widespread and common, found in shallow tropical waters from East Africa, India, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Taiwan to Australia and the Pacific Islands. It was previously known as Pseudocucumis africanus.

Features: 3-8cm long. Body cylindrical. Colour uniform purple (some lilac, others deep purple). Short tube feet in rows along the length. Tube feet are used to cling to the underside of the stone as well as to hold debris all over the body. Feeding tentacles can be larger than the body when expanded underwater, translucent white with dark branched tips.

Baby sea cucumbers: From Teo Siyang, these sea cucumbers multiply by fission, i.e., by dividing into pieces. Which is why sometimes we see lots of them together under a stone! They also do undergo sexual reproduction.

Several seen together under one stone.
Sentosa, Jul 11

Tube feet In water.
St. John's Island, Mar 05

Feeding tentacles.
Tanah Merah, Jun 12

Ossicles, from Teo Siyang's paper.

Feeding tentacles, from Teo Siyang's paper.

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.

On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display

Little African sea cucumbers on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

East Coast Park, Oct 10
Photo shared by Ivan Kwan on his flickr.

Pasir Ris Park, May 14
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Lazarus, Apr 12
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

St. John's Island, Jul 09
Photo shared by Geraldine Lee on her blog.

Pulau Tekukor, May 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Semakau, Nov 12
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.



  • Teo, S., L. C. S. Ng, S. M. Suen, A. F. S. L. Lok & P. X. Ng, 2010. Notes on the sea cucumber, Afrocucumis africana (Semper, 1868) (Holothuroidea: Dendrochirotida: Sclerodactylidae) in Singapore. Nature in Singapore, 3: 65-68.
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