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Phylum Echinodermata > Class Holothuroidea
Herrmann's sea cucumber
Stichopus herrmanni
Family Stichopodidae
updated Apr 2020

Where seen? This large sea cucumber is sometimes seen among coral rubble on some Southern shores. 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.

Features: 20-30cm, up to 50cm long. Body hard heavy, squarish in cross-section blunt at the ends, with a wrinkled skin and distinct upper and underside. Small wart-like bumps in 2-4 rows along the sides of the body length. Colour uniform black, dark olive, brown to pale beige with dark brown to black spots scattered over the entire body. Elsewhere, also light mustard-yellow to orangey-brown or brown and olive green.
Distinct flat underside, paler that upperside, with many tube feet appearing in three rows along the body length. Mouth facing downwards with 8-16 stout green feeding tentacles. The body wall disintegrates if the animal is held out of water for a long time. So please don't handle it.

Baby cucumber home: Juveniles found commonly in shallow reef flat zones and later migrate to other zones. It reaches sexual maturity at 30cm and reproduces annually.

Cucumber home: This sea cucumber is host to the pearlfish Carapus mourlani and Carapus homei.

Pulau Semakau, Aug 13

Flat underside with three rows of tube feet.
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 depletion of 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, Aug 08

Tube feet on the underside.

Herrmann's sea cucumbers on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Pulau Semakau, Dec 08

Photo by Yvonne Yeoh courtesy of Eric Leong.

Terumbu Semakau, May 17
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.



  • Lane, David J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.
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