seen? This large sea cucumber is sometimes seen on Pulau
Semakau, among coral rubble. It is also called the Curryfish as it
is among the sea cucumbers that are edible and harvested for the restaurant
trade. It was formerly known as S. variegatus. Elsewhere it
prefers seagrass beds, rubble and sandy-muddy bottoms. Juveniles settle
in reef flat zones and later migrate to other zones.
Features: 20-30cm, up to 50cm
long. Body hard wrinkled but without large bumps. Colour uniform sandy-brown
or grey-green-brown. Elsewhere, also light mustard-yellow to orangey-brown or brown and olive green. With scattered papillae that are orange-brown.
Short tube feet on the flat underside. Mouth on the underside with 8-16 stout green feeding tentacles.
Cucumber home: This sea cucumber
is host to the pearlfish Carapus mourlani and Carapus homei.
Human uses: This is one of the
sea cucumbers whose body fluids are harvested in Malaysia for 'Air
Gamat', a local health tonic that believed to aid healing and other
ailments. According to Choo, in Pulau Langkawi, the processing industry
has depleted the resources of S. hermanni, which is now an
endangered if not an extinct species in the vicinity of the Langkawi
Islands. According to the IUCN
Red List: "Although it is not one of the most important species
(low value) for fishery purposes, it can may become more popular after
the depletionof other species of higher commercial importance and
value. Populations are estimated to be depleted and have declined
by more than 60-90% in at least 50% of its range, as there is some
refuge in deeper waters, and is considered over exploited in at least
40% of it range although exact declines are difficult to estimate."
Pulau Semakau, Dec 08
Photo by Yvonne Yeoh courtesy of Eric Leong.
Pulau Semakau, Aug 08
sea cucumbers on Singapore shores