species: Holothuria (Halodeima) atra in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Holothuria (Halodeima) atra

©Anne Hoggett: Holothuria (Halodeima) atra almost exposed at low tide on the reef flat at Eyrie Reef near Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Holothuria (Halodeima) atra about 40 cm long at about 15 m depth at Lizard Island. Specimens at depth are often larger than those on the reef flat and are not covered with sand.

©Lyle Vail: Holothuria (Halodeima) atra near Casuarina Beach, Lizard Island.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Holothuroidea
Order Aspidochirotida
Family Holothuriidae
Genus Holothuria
Species Holothuria (Halodeima) atra



Distinguishing features

Holothuria (Halodeima) atra is black all over. In shallow water (reef flat), body size rarely exceeds 25 cm and there is usually a thin layer of sand covering the body with two longitudinal series of round patches without sand, allowing the black skin to show through as spots. Larger specimens occur in deeper water and usually lack a sand covering. The body wall is relatively thin and pliable. Cuverian tubules are absent.


  • Up to 45 cm (length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Holothuria (Halodeima) atra is one of the most common medium-sized holothurians in reef habitats at Lizard Island. It is extremely common in shallow reef-flat areas. Individuals in deeper water tend to be larger and without a sand coating.

Web resources


  • Bakus, G.J. (1981). Chemical defense mechanisms on the Great Barrier Reef, Science, 211: 497-499. LIRS catalog number 41.
  • Bandaranayake, W.M. and A. Des Rocher (1999). Role of secondary metabolites and pigments in the epidermal tissues, ripe ovaries, viscera, gut contents and diet of the sea cucumber Holothuria atra. Marine Biology, 133: 163-169. LIRS catalog number 1655.
  • Cannon, L.R.G. and H. Silver (1986). Sea Cucumbers of Northern Australia Queensland Museum, Brisbane. LIRS catalog number 229.
  • View all references