seen? This small colourful sea cucumber is sometimes commonly
seen on our Northern shores. It appears to be seasonally abundant.
There are times where many individuals are seen, jammed next to one
another. At other times, few are seen, widely separated from one another.
Thorny sea cucumbers do not appear to burrow into the ground and are
often found on the sand especially in seagrass areas, clinging to
tubeworm tubes or other hard surfaces.
Features: 6-10cm long, and really
tiny ones hardly bigger than a seagrass leaf are sometimes also seen.
Body short, squarish or quadrangular in cross-section with a distinct
upperside and underside. The underside has three rows of short red
tube feet. The tube feet may be used to stick to seagrass or cling
to hard surfaces. The upperside has soft, harmless thorn-shaped projections.
The anus has five tiny teeth-like structures. Colours range from bright
red or orange, with shades of grey and green or bluish lines along
the length. The feeding tentacles may be yellow, orange or red.
Sometimes confused with the Pink
warty sea cucumber (Cercodemas anceps) which looks similar
and is found in the same habitat. The Pink warty sea cucumber is less
common and has pink warty bumps instead of soft thorns.
What does it eat? It gathers plankton
and suspended organic particles from the water with feathery feeding
tentacles. Each tentacle is stuffed one by one into the mouth to wipe
off any edible bits that are stuck to it.
Human uses: Thorny sea cucumbers
are among the sea cucumbers harvested for the live aquarium trade,
although not as popular as the more colourful Sea
apple sea cucumber (Pseudocolochirus violaceus). Like other
fish and creatures harvested from the wild, most die before they can
reach the retailers. Without professional
care, most die soon after they are sold. Often of starvation as owners
are unable to provide the food that they need to survive. Those that
do survive are unlikely to breed.
in large numbers
Tuas, Oct 10
with blue stripes.
Beting Bronok, Jul 05
than a seagrass leaf.
Changi, May 06
projections around the anus.
Changi, Jun 05
Three rows of tube feet on the underside.
sea cucumbers on Singapore shores
Pulau Ubin, Dec 09
shared by James Koh on his
Tanah Merah, Aug 09
shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his
Seringat-Kias, Feb 11
shared by Russel Low on facebook.
Sentosa Serapong, May 16
Photo shared by Ivan Kwan on facebook.
Sentosa Siloso, May 09
Photo shared by Ivan Kwan on his
- Lane, David
J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A
Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore.
Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.