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Phylum Echinodermata > Class Holothuroidea
Black long sea cucumber
Holothuria leucospilota
Family Holothuriidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This large long black sea cucumber is seen on many of our shores, and is particularly common on many of our reefy Southern shores. The long animal usually hides most of its body under large boulders or rocks. Elsewhere, can be common and abundant in reefs, seagrass meadows, sandy and muddy bottoms with rubble or reefs.

Features: Usually about 30-40cm, it can lengthen to about 1m long. Body cylindrical and long with short tube feet all over the body. The entire animal is uniformly very dark brown or maroon to black. When threatened, it can eject sticky white threads (called Cuvierian tubules) from its backside. These entangle the disturber.

What does it eat? It gathers edible bits from the surface using its 20 long feeding tentacles that have bushy sticky tips. Most of the body is usually wedged under rocks or crevices with only the front end extended out and the mouth facing downwards. It swallows much sand in the process of eating. This is undigested and defecated.

Reproduction: Larger individuals that live in deeper water or outer reefs reproduce sexually, while smaller ones in shallower waters may reproduce by division (transversal fission).

Cosy cucumber: This sea cucumber is said to be a host to the pearl fish Encheliophis vermicularis.

Human uses: This sea cucumber does not have high commercial value and is not harvested for the food trade nor live aquarium trade, because of its thin skin and tendency to produce Cuvierian tubules when stressed. But there seems to be many studies investigating their biochemical properties.

Status and threats: This sea cucumber is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of threatened animals in Singapore. Although globally, according to the FAO, "it has one of the broadest distributions of all holothurians, and it can be found in most tropical localities in the western central Pacific, Asia and most Indian Ocean regions".

A small one (about 10cm long).
Pulau Tekukor, Jan 10

Sentosa, Aug 05

Tentacles with bushy tips.
St. John's Island, Jan 06

Often several under a rock.
Terumbu Selegie, Jun 11

Out of water.
Lazarus Island, Apr 12

Black long sea cucumbers on Singapore shores

Photos of Black long sea cucumbers for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Chek Jawa, Aug 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

East Coast PCN, Apr 17
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Labrador, May 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Labrador, Aug 17
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Terumbu Semakau, Dec 15
Photo shared by Chay Hoon on facebook.

Terumbu Buran, Jan 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Terumbu Pempang Tengah, Mar 16
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

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

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

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

Filmed on Pulau Tekukor, Jan 10

blackseasucumbers from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.

Links References
  • Lane, David J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
  • 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.
  • Allen, Gerald R and Roger Steene. 2002. Indo-Pacific Coral Reef Field Guide. Tropical Reef Research. 378pp.
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