Actinopyga agassizi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Echinodermata Holothuroidea Aspidochirotida Holothuriidae

Scientific Name: Actinopyga agassizi (Selenka, 1867)
Common Name(s):
English Five-toothed Sea Cucumber, West Indian Sea Cucumber
Taxonomic Notes: Actinopyga agassizi is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Muelleria agassizi.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-05-18
Assessor(s): Toral-Granda, M.V, Alvarado, J.J., Hamel, J.-F., Mercier, A., Benavides, M. & Paola Ortiz, E.
Reviewer(s): Elfes, C., Tognelli, M., Carpenter, K.E. & Knapp, L.
This species has a wide distribution. There is very little information available on its population and it occurs in some artisanal fisheries, but in less than 25% of its range. It is found to depths of 54 m and therefore has some refuge in deeper waters. Therefore it is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs in the Western Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the Southeast U.S. Continental Shelf, the Bahamas, Bermuda and northern Cuba. The type locality is from Tortugas Island, Florida.

Countries occurrence:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mexico; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Saint Barthélemy; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):54
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is almost no information on the population of this species. It is probably not very common, and occurs at low densities. Densities in Costa Rica were 0.03 individuals per m2  (Bolaños et al. 2005).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This is a nocturnal (Toral-Granda et al. 2008), sea cucumber species that can reach 35 cm total length (Hendler et al. 1995), and inhabits rocky areas, sea grass beds and coral reefs (including coral reef lagoons) from shallow depths down to 54 m (Hendler et al. 1995). As with other Aspidochirotids it is a benthic species that feeds on detritus in the sea floor.

No information is known on changes of habitat requirements during the life history of the species, but generally, the juveniles of Aspidochirotids are cryptic and small individuals that may migrate into adult habitat later (Purcell 2004).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

Actinopyga agassizi is caught in artisanal fisheries, usually by free diving. There are no data on landings for this species, although it is known from fisheries in Venezuela, Nicaragua and also in Panama (illegal fishing).

Although not one of the most important species 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.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Actinopyga agassizi is fished, however very little information is known about the areas and quantities in which it is fished. Another potential threat is destruction of habitat in areas of high coastal development.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no conservation measures in place for this species. In Panama, there is a ban on all sea cucumber fishing. It occurs in some protected areas, for example in Costa Rica and Colombia.

Errata [top]

Errata reason: Corrected assessor name that had the incorrect initials.

Citation: Toral-Granda, M.V, Alvarado, J.J., Hamel, J.-F., Mercier, A., Benavides, M. & Paola Ortiz, E. 2013. Actinopyga agassizi (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T180353A102415323. . Downloaded on 20 June 2018.
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