seen? This large sea cucumber with a spiky surface that
resembles durian skin are sometimes seen on Pulau Semakau, on sandy
areas near seagrasses. It appears to be more active at night. Elsewhere
it is common on rubble and sandy areas; hidden under rocks or dead
Features: About 20cm long, but
can grow to 50cm long up to half a kilo in weight! Body hard, squarish
in cross-section with a distinct upper and underside. The upperside
has soft conical spine-shaped structures. The underside is flat with
lots of short tube feet. Yellowish
or greenish grey. Elsewhere, highly variable, from grey to beige to
dark red, dark brown, greenish-brown or black with different
coloured blotches. Mouth on the underside with 20 tentacles. It disintegrates when
it is removed from water or otherwise stressed.
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. Choo describes how in some places, the fluids are drained
from the sea cucumbers which are then returned to the net cages holding
them. The fluids are boiled in oil together with some herbs.
According to SeaLife
Base, it is probably not harvested for the sea cucumber trade
because it disintegrates too rapidly to be processed for sale. 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
Pulau Semakau, Aug 11
Tanah Merah, Aug 09
Tube feet on the underside.
Pulau Semakau, Nov 09
up of 'thorns'
*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of
sea cucumbers on Singapore shores
Terumbu Bemban, Jun 10
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her