sea cucumbers text index | photo index
Phylum Echinodermata > Class Holothuroidea
Durian sea cucumber
Stichopus horrens*
Family Stichopodidae
updated Oct 2016

Where 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 corals.

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 value."

Pulau Semakau, Aug 11


Tanah Merah, Aug 09

Tube feet on the underside.

Pulau Semakau, Nov 09

Close up of 'thorns'

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.

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

Durian sea cucumbers on Singapore shores

Photos of Durian sea cucumbers for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Terumbu Bemban, Jun 10
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.

Pulau Semakau, Oct 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Semakau, Jul 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

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