Holothuria (Theelothuria) spinifera   Theel,  1886 (Sea Cucumber)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Holothuroidea

Image copyrights: D.B. James, CMFRI, Kochi, India

Length: 150 mm - 300 mm

Color: The color of the upper surface is a uniform brown with white markings, and there are small sharp projections all over the body. The lower side is paler in color.

The body is cylindrical and robust with both ends rounded; mouth surrounded by a collar or papillae; tentacles 20. Anus is surrounded by five distinct cylindrical papillae, which gives a stellate appearance, On the dorsal side, there are a number of long papillae which are sparsely distributed. On the ventral side, there are large pedicels which are thinly distributed; no regular arrangement either for the pedicels or papillae.

Spicules consist of buttons, tables and supporting plates. The buttons are either knobbed or smooth, very small buttons are smooth; three pairs of holes for each button; tables have short spires and broad discs; 8 to 10 peripheral holes which are oval in shape; a single hole at the center of the spire. The top of the spire ends in an expanded rectangle which has spinous margins; spire has two to four holes and two to three cross beams. The tip of the spire of these tables is blunt; supporting plates are numerous and common among the calcareous deposits of this species; these are large and most of them are elongated, while a few are short and broad. Each of them has a number of holes. The tables at the center are larger than those at either end.

This species is never found in the intertidal region. It is found on clean sand in slightly deeper waters. It is a highly burrowing form and is usually found in night trawl catches.

Synonym (s)

Common Name (s)
• Brown Sandfish (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Medium value for processing)

Habitat:  Demersal
Trophic Level:  Consumer


• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Palk Bay INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• SRI LANKA (Record: 1971)
• Tamil Nadu, Mandapam INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Devipatnam INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Alfred, JRB; Das, AK and Sanyal, AK (Eds.) (1998) Faunal diversity in India ZSI, Calcutta 1-497 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Venkatraman, K; Srinivasan, M; Satyanarayana, CH and Prabhakar D (2002) Faunal diversity of Gulf of Mannar biosphere reserve Conservation area series 15 ZSI 77 pp; VIII pla Available at - NCL, Pune
  • James, DB (1985) Echinoderm fauna of the proposed national park in the gulf of Mannar Proceedings of the Symposium on endangered marine animals and parks Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 1 403-406 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Venkataraman, K; Satyanarayana, CH; Alfred, JRB and Wolstenholme, J (2003) Handbook on hard corals of India ZSI, Kolkata 266 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • James, DB (2001) Twenty sea cucumbers from seas around India Naga, The ICLARM Quarterly 24(1 & 2) 4-8 Available at - http://www.worldfishcenter.org/Naga/Naga24-1&2/pdf/features.pdf
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at - http://tnenvis.nic.in
  • Kumara, PBTP; Cumaranathunga, PRT and Linden, O (2005) Present status of the sea cucumber fishery in southern Sri Lanka: A resource depleted industry SPC Beche-de-mer Information Bulletin 22 24-29 Available at - http://www.spc.int/Coastfish/news/BDM/22/Terney.pdf
  • James, DB (1995) Taxonomic studies of the species of holothuria (Linnaeus, 1767) from the seas around India. Part II Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society Bombay Natural History Society 92(1) 190-204 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/7436/1/450-J._BOMBAY_NAT.HISTORY_SOC_1995.pdf
  • Sastry, DRK (2007) Echinodermata of India : An annotated list Records of Zoological Survey of India Occassional paper No. 271 ZSI, Kolkata 1-387 Available at - http://zsi.gov.in/checklist/Echinodermata_India_Checklist.pdf
  • James, DB (1989) Echinoderms of Lakshadweep and their zoogeography Marine living resources of the union territory of Lakshadweep: An indicative survey with suggestions for development Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI 43 97-144 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/8213/1/Bulletin_No_43.pdf

Page last updated on:2011-04-25

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