species: Holothuria (Microthele) sp. in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Holothuria (Microthele) sp.

©Anne Hoggett: Holothuria (Microthele) sp. about 30 cm long, Watson's Bay, Lizard Island. Note anemone on dorsum at anterior end (right of photo).

©Anne Hoggett: Holothuria (Microthele) sp. about 30 cm long, as found in about 2 metres depth in Watson's Bay, Lizard Island. Two anemones are present on dorsum. Head is at left of photo.

©Anne Hoggett: Holothuria (Microthele) sp. about 30 cm long with fine coating of sand partly removed, Watson's Bay, Lizard Island.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Holothuroidea
Order Aspidochirotida
Family Holothuriidae
Genus Holothuria
Species Holothuria (Microthele) sp.



Distinguishing features

This unusual individual is clearly related to Holothuria (Microthele) fuscogilva and Holothuria (Microthele) whitmaei due to the stout, heavy body with thick body wall, flat ventral surface and lateral protrusions on the ventral margin.

Its colour pattern differs from both. The former is white around the margin with much larger black patches dorsally and the latter is completely black dorsally. It may be a hybrid of those species, both of which occur at Lizard Island.

The habitat in which this individual was found (just off a beach in shallow water away from reef) is unusual for both named species. The former is usually found away from reefs in water deeper than 15 metres and the latter is usually associated with reef.

The specimen is very similar to an undescribed species reported as Holothuria sp (type 'Pentard') that is known only from the Indian Ocean (Purcell et al, 2012).


  • Up to 30 cm (Length of photographed specimen.)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



Two individuals of Bunodeopsis sp. were found attached to the dorsal surface of this holothurian. Such an association has not been reported before to our knowledge.

by Anne Hoggett


Web resources


  • Purcell, S.W., Y. Samyn and C. Conand (2012). Commercially important sea cucumbers of the world 150 pp., 30 pl. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.