Elephant Trunkfish (species: Holothuria (Microthele) fuscopunctata) in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Holothuria (Microthele) fuscopunctata
Elephant Trunkfish

©Lyle Vail: Holothuria (Microthele) fuscopunctata at about 15 m depth in Mermaid Cove

©Lyle Vail: An unusual pale specimen of Holothuria (Microthele) fuscopunctata found at the same time and place as the animal in the photo above

©Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: Holothuria (Microthele) fuscopunctata in the channel at Yonge Reef
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Holothuroidea
Order Aspidochirotida
Family Holothuriidae
Genus Holothuria
Species Holothuria (Microthele) fuscopunctata



Distinguishing features

Deep creases in the thick body wall and distinct fine spots easily distinguish this large holothurian from others. Colouration is usually yellowish/brown above and paler on the sides and below, but much paler individuals are also occasionally seen.


  • Size data has not been obtained.

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

While this species is sometimes seen in quite shallow water, it is more common in water deeper than about 10 metres on sand or a mixture or rubble and sand. It occurs at the outer barrier reefs as well as other mid-shelf reefs near Lizard Island.


Spawning has been observed in April and in November in the Lizard Island area. Individuals raise the front half of the body into an upright position and eject spawn from a gonopore on top of the head.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Clark, A.M. and F.W.E. Rowe (1971). Monograph of shallow-water Indo-west Pacific echinoderms British Museum (Natural History), London.

Other references

  • Uthicke, M. Byrne and C. Conand, S. (2010). Genetic barcoding of commercial beche-de-mer species (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea), Molecular Ecology Resources, 10: 634-646. LIRS catalog number 1321.