species: Holothuria (Acanthotrapeza) coluber in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Holothuria (Acanthotrapeza) coluber

©Anne Hoggett: Holothuria (Acanthotrapeza) coluber at Lizard Island showing pale yellow tentacles.

©Lyle Vail: Holothuria (Acanthotrapeza) coluber off Casuarina Beach.

©Victor Huertas: One of many Holothuria (Acanthotrapeza) coluber spawning between 1530 and 1600 in the Lizard Island lagoon on 20 Dec 2018.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Holothuroidea
Order Aspidochirotida
Family Holothuriidae
Genus Holothuria
Species Holothuria (Acanthotrapeza) coluber



Distinguishing features

Holothuria (Acanthotrapeza) coluber is an extremely long, black holothurian with papillae distinctively tipped with pale yellow and 20 yellow feeding tentacles. The whole animal is rarely seen as the posterior end is usually tucked within the reef. The body wall is tough and knobbly. No Cuverian tubules.


  • Up to 100 cm (estimated length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Holothuria (Acanthotrapeza) coluber is common in shallow reef-flat areas.


Many individuals of this species spawned at about 5 pm on 1 January 2002 on the rubble reef in front of the Station. The posterior ends were wedged into the reef or under rubble as usual and the anterior ends were raised 30 to 50 cm off the substrate. They were very unstable, falling over then rising again repeatedly. Spawn was ejected in small puffs of about 1 second duration with 30 to 50 seconds between puffs. Spawn was very fine and milky - eggs not discernable. Observation by Anne Hoggett.

Spawning by many individuals was also observed by Victor Huertas between 3.30 and 4 pm on 20 Dec 2018 (see photo and record in LIFG).

Web resources


  • Bakus, G.J. (1981). Chemical defense mechanisms on the Great Barrier Reef, Science, 211: 497-499. LIRS catalog number 41.
  • Cannon, L.R.G. and H. Silver (1986). Sea Cucumbers of Northern Australia Queensland Museum, Brisbane. LIRS catalog number 229.
  • 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.
  • View all references