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Phylum Echinodermata > Class Holothuroidea
White-rumped sea cucumber
Actinopyga lecanora
Family Holothuriidae
updated Apr 2020

Where seen? This large fat sea cucumber with a white ring around its back end is commonly seen on many of our Southern shores. Usually among coral rubble, and living hard and soft corals. Elsewhere, it is considered uncommon and occurs in very low densities on rocky and reefy areas. It is said to be predominantly nocturnal, during the day hiding under large stones or crevices in the reefs. It is sometimes called the 'stone fish sea cucumber' because it is firm and looks like a smooth stone when disturbed; bloating up into a rounded, smooth shape and retracting its tube feet. However, when relaxed, the animal can be quite long and thin.

Features: 15-20cm long. Body may be elongated into a long sausage-like shape, or contracted into a more rounded loaf-shape or even into a more globular oval shape. Surface somewhat smooth with long, thin tube feet, sparsely distributed all over. Sometimes, the sea cucumber is seen with many tube feet on the underside. We have not been able to observe the feeding tentacles in the wild. Colours variable ranging from shades of brown to golden yellow or white, sometimes with blotches, sometimes a uniform colour.

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Pulau Hantu, Jul 07

White ringed backside guarded by five 'teeth'.
Pulau Hantu, Jul 07
One distinguishing feature of this sea cucumber is the white or greyish zone around the rear end. The anus is guarded by five calcareous yellowish teeth-like structures. When feeding, the mouth is usually facing downwards towards the ground. It does not have Cuvierian tubules.

Human uses: This sea cucumber is among the edible ones harvested for the food trade, usually by hand using lead-bombs and free-diving. Tests indicate these sea cucumbers contain toxins. They must be properly prepared before they are safe to eat.

White-rumped sea cucumbers on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Lazarus Island, Feb 11
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog

Terumbu Hantu, Jun 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Semakau South, Oct 20
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Terumbu Pempang Kecil, Jun 16
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Terumbu Pempang Darat, Jun 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Terumbu Pempang Laut, May 15
Photo shared by Heng Pei Yan on facebook.

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

Terumbu Bemban, Apr 11
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Terumbu Semakau, Dec 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pulau Salu, Apr 21

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Terumbu Salu, Jan 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10

Pulau Senang, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Pulau Biola, May 10

Pulau Biola, Dec 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.



  • Lane, David J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.
  • Gosliner, Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawaii exclusive of the vertebrates Sea Challengers. 314pp.
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