Variable Sea Cucumber – Holothuria sanctori

Variable Sea Cucumber Holothuria sanctori scuba diving canary islands Mediterranean Sea atlantic ocean species echinodermata
Variable Sea Cucumber – Holothuria sanctori
On the Canary Islands it is one of the most common species of Echinoderms.

The Variable Sea Cucumber is a species in the class of the Holothuroidea (Sea Cucumbers) and therefore belongs to the phylum of the Echinodermata. Holothuria sanctori was first described by Delle Chiaje in 1823.

Description, Anatomy & Characteristics

The Variable Sea Cucumber has a tubular body that is almost round in cross section. Both front and rear ends are spherically rounded. As its name says, it varies in its colour appearance, whereby the basic colouration is brown. Spines, sometimes large and sometimes small, with black spots, spread across their bodies. In addition, a light circular spot may appear around the spines.

Holothuria sanctori can grow up to 30cm long and reach a diameter of 6cm.

Habitat & Distribution

The Variable Sea Cucumber lives on solid ground or in seagrass meadows at depths of down to 100m.

When scuba diving in the Canary Islands you can often observe Holothuria sanctori. Actually, there’s hardly a dive without it. While you find them hidden in crevices or under stones during the day, they can also be seen outside at night.

Its general range extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the adjacent Atlantic regions. They are also found in the Black Sea, the Red Sea, Saint Helena and Mexico.

Biology & Feeding

The Variable Sea Cucumber is nocturnal. Their diet consists of detritus, debris, invertebrates and sediment.

Holothuria sanctori is of separate sex. Spawning and fertilization take place outside the body.

Sources & Links


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