Bohadschia vitiensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Echinodermata Holothuroidea Aspidochirotida Holothuriidae

Scientific Name: Bohadschia vitiensis (Semper, 1868)
Common Name(s):
English Brown Sandfish
Holothuria vitiensis Semper, 1868
Taxonomic Notes: A critical review is needed, as there is some confusion with B. marmorata and B. tenuissima (Rasolofonirina pers. comm. 2010).

This species may be confused with B. subrubra (Conand 2008). Samyn et al. (2006) consider B. similis and B. vitiensis as synonyms of B. marmorata. Conand (2008) recommends the taxonomic revision of the whole genus Bohadschia.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-11-15
Assessor(s): Samyn, Y.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Carpenter, K.E., Knapp, L. & Harwell, H.
This is a widespread species that is fished throughout its distribution. There have been localized population declines of this species in areas of intense fishing. However, the harvesting effects on the global population of this species are unknown. This species is possibly a synonym or taxonomic confusion of B. marmorata as well. More research is needed on the taxonomic status, population status, and harvesting effects on this species. Therefore it is listed as Data Deficient.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in the Indo Pacific. It occurs from East Africa (Madagascar) to India, Ceylon, Bay of Bengal, East Indies, North Australia, Philippines, China, South Japan and South Pacific Islands.
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Australia; Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Comoros; Cook Islands; Egypt; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; India; Indonesia; Japan; Kenya; Kiribati; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Mauritius; Mayotte; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Pitcairn; RĂ©union; Samoa; Seychelles; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; United States (Hawaiian Is.); Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):20
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


In Fiji, a multispecies fishery targeting this species among others has now declined. In Kiribati, a multispecies fishery which included this species boomed from 2000 to 2002, but is now considered depleted. Surveys in Pohnpei in 2000 found populations of this species in relatively high densities. At Jaluit Atoll in the Marshall Islands, this species is scarce whilst in Kiribati it is fairly common. In Tuvalu in 1978, only the atolls of Funafuti and Nukufetau had commercial densities of this species. In Milne Bay (PNG), there are <0.1 ind*ha-1 of this species (Kinch et al. 2008).

This species is not common around La Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean (Conand and Mangion 2002).

Eriksson (2006) used species specific transect data to estimate an average population density of 13 individuals of this species per hectare in Samoan lagoons. The species was present in 22 of 297 transects.

Population density for this species was estimated at 3.1 individuals per hectare in the Solomon Islands in 1992 (

In Madagascar, declining exports, quality and size of sea cucumbers, including this species, in 1998 indicated resources were overexploited (Bruckner et al. 2003).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

In the Western Central Pacific region, this species can be found in coastal lagoons and inner reef flats, generally burrowed in sandy-muddy bottoms between 0 and 20m (Kinch et al. 2008) or in calm waters of coastal lagoons and inner flats with soft sediments between 1 and 7m (Purcel et al. 2008). In the Africa and Indian Ocean region, this species inhabits the backreef and sea grass meadows over sandy bottoms between 0 and 20m; it normally buries in the sand during the night (Conand 2008). This species is common in shallow waters and buries itself in the silty sands of calm waters where there is no terrigenous action. They are distributed mainly in shallow coral reef areas, coastal lagoons, inner reef flats and inner slope from 0 to 20 m depth (Rasolofonirina pers comm.).

In PNG, this species reproduces in December whilst in Palau reproduces in July and August (Kinch et al. 2008). In the Africa and Indian Ocean region, it reproduces during the warm season (Conand 2008).

This species is found along back reef hollows and burrows into the sediment (Conand and Mangion 2002).

Purcell et al. (2009) found that this species inhabits protected deeper lagoon environs of sites with soft fine sand.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is commercially exploited in certain countries including Palau, Guam, CNMI, FSM, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, PNG, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and the Coral Sea (Australia) where it is considered a delicacy or as a protein component in traditional diets. Its consumption is important in times of hardship (Kinch et al. 2008). It is used for subsistence fishery in Samoa and Fiji. In the latter, it is an important element to fisher's livelihoods.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

In Kiribati, a multispecies fishery which included this species boomed from 2000 to 2002, but is now considered depleted. In Samoa, sea cucumber fishing activities started in the 1960s, but peaked in mid-1990s with this species accounting for 44% of the exports. The exports closed in 1994 and now the fishery supplies the local market only; however, in 2004 1.7 tonnes of this species and B. horrens were sold locally (Kinch et al. 2008). It is commercially exploited in Indonesia (Choo 2008). In Madagascar, this species has limited harvesting (Rasolofonirina 2007).

Although not one of the most important species (low value) for fishery purposes, it can be expected that this species may become more popular after the depletion or reduction of other species of higher commercial importance and value. This has been seen in Samoa, after the decline of S. horrens, in PNG after the decline of H. scabra and in Fiji after the decline of A. miliaris (Kinch et al. 2008).
In the Solomon Islands the average annual export price of this species increased from $1.90*kg-1 in 1988 to $4.70*kg-1 in 1993 for the highest grade catch.  It was considered low-value during this time period (Holland 1994).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

In Samoa, sea cucumber exports are banned as of 1994, with the fishery supplying only the local market (Kinch et al. 2008).

In PNG, this species has a minimum landing size of 20cm TL alive, and 7cm TL dry. Additionally, the use of hookah and SCUBA underwater or surface lights for fishing of sea cucumbers is not allowed, however there is no enforcement of this regulation. The use of lights is common in all provinces for harvesting this species (Kinch et al. 2008).

With the inclusion of I. fuscus in CITES Appendix III, a debate started about whether the conservation of this group may be address with their inclusion in one of CITES appendices. The debate started in Conference of the Parties (CoP) 12 (Santiago, Chile) and extended to CoP 14 (The Hague, Netherlands). No recent advances have been achieved on this matter. For a revision of the possible pros and cons of a CITES listing, please see Toral-Granda (2007). There are marine protected areas located throughout its distribution which likely include this shallow water species.

Citation: Samyn, Y. 2013. Bohadschia vitiensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T180352A1618704. . Downloaded on 27 May 2018.
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