Stichopus chloronotus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Echinodermata Holothuroidea Aspidochirotida Stichopodidae

Scientific Name: Stichopus chloronotus Brandt, 1835
Common Name(s):
English Greenfish
Taxonomic Notes: This species is also known as Stichopus cylindricus and Stichopus hirotai .

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-05-18
Assessor(s): Conand, C., Gamboa, R. & Purcell, S.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Knapp, L., Harwell, H. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is widespread in the Indo-Pacific, and is considered common. It is relatively small bodied, and is targeted in many parts of its range. However, it is found in high densities, is fast-growing and can reproduce by both sexual and asexual reproduction (transverse fission) at different seasons. At this time, there is no current indication of widespread decline. It is listed as Least Concern. However, this species should be carefully monitored if fishing pressure increases, given its shallow depth range and medium commercial value.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in the Indo Pacific, excluding the Persian Gulf and Hawaii. It occurs from east Africa (Mozambique, Madagascar, Kenya Tanzania) to India, and Australia and Indonesia in the Indian Ocean, north to China and Japan, and east to Guam, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in the Pacific. In Madagascar, populations are observed in the west coast from Beheloka to Nosy-be.
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Australia; Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Comoros; Cook Islands; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Fiji; Guam; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Israel; Japan; Jordan; Kenya; Kiribati; Madagascar; Malaysia; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Mauritius; Mayotte; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Mozambique; Myanmar; Nauru; New Caledonia; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Réunion; Samoa; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Somalia; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; United Arab Emirates; United States (Hawaiian Is.); Vanuatu; Viet Nam; Wallis and Futuna; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):60
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


This species was the most common of all the commercially exploited species in New Caledonia (Purcell pers. comm. 2010). In the Northern Mariana Islands in 1995, this species was one of the main species because of relative abundance, however in 1996 fishing operations moved to another island due to a decline in catches because of seasonal weather conditions and overexploitation. Surveys in Pohnpei (Federal States of Micronesia) in 2000 found relatively high population densities. In the Solomon Islands, this species was found in low densities whereas in Vanuatu it is abundant. In New Caledonia, some dense patches (100 ind*ha-1) have been found (Kinch et al. 2008).

In Malaysia, this species is considered the second most abundant (Choo 2008). In Réunion, this species showed a total mean density of 0.34 ± 0.69 ind*m-2. Mean density in the back reefs was 0.78 ± 0.91 ind*m-2 (Conand 2008). In India, the species was once abundant, but has now disappeared due to habitat destruction (Conand 2008).

Populations can reach high densities on hard substrates, with a mean of around 0.04 ind*m-2. Shallow water populations are generally smaller in size than those found in deeper waters.

This species is relatively abundant along reefs of 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 58 individuals of this species per hectare in Samoan lagoons. The species was present in 112 of 297 transects.

In interviews, local Samoan fishermen expressed a general belief that recent cyclone activity has lead to a decrease in the number of this species available for harvest. This may be due to changes in the sediment including grain size, ratio of organic material, etc. (Eriksson 2006).

A survey in Kosrae, Micronesia found this species in 20% of transects and the population density was estimated at 150 animals per hectare (Lindsay and Abraham 2004).

A density of 1.6 individuals of this species per hectare has been estimated for the Solomon Islands (Eriksson 2006).

In the Gulf of Manner and Pal Bay, CPUE and size of specimens has dramatically declined (Bruckner et al. 2003).

In Thailand, populations of this species have decreased in fishing areas (Bruckner et al. 2003).

Mean densities at ideal habitats can reach high levels, ranging from 11 to 167 ind*100m-² (Rasolofonirina pers. comm. 2010).

Purcell et al. (2009) recorded this species at 19 lagoon sites, evenly dispersed along la Grande Terre, New Caledonia. At 4 of those sites, abundances were between 1,000 and 4,000 ind*km-2.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

This is a reef species mostly found in shallow areas from near the surface to a depth of 15 m. It generally occurs on back reef hollows, reef flats and upper slopes (Conand and Mangion 2002). In the Western Central Pacific, this species prefers reef flats and upper slopes, generally on hard substrates between 0 and 15 m (Kinch et al. 2008). In Malaysian reefs, it prefers areas with boulders mixed with live corals (Choo 2008). In Africa and the Indian Ocean region, this species prefers reef flats over rubble between 0 and 5 m (Conand 2008). In Northern Australia, it has been found in patches of sand among coral rubble within the inner-reef lagoon. Higher densities of this species were found in sheltered areas of coral rubble (Shiell 2004). In China (Li 2004) it is found in deeper water (40 to 60 m). In Comores, it can be found at medium depth over rocky reefs and sandy zones among seagrasses (Samyn et al. 2006).

In the Great Barrier Reef,  reproduction occurs in January, April, November and December. It may reproduce by fission under natural circumstances during the cool season, which may have handicapped gene-flow in the Great Barrier Reef (Kinch et al. 2008). In Réunion, it has two spawning seasons, similar to other populations previously studied on the Great Barrier Reef (Conand 2008).

Juveniles are known to settle in reef flat zones and later migrate to other areas (Kinch et al. 2008). The species grows about 70-80 g per year and their growth slows down once the animal becomes large (Purcell 2010).

This species is host to the pearlfishes Carapus mourlani, C. homei and C. boraborensis (Eeckhaut 2004).

The length frequency distribution for this species shows that there are few observed juvenile individuals among adults (Eriksson 2006). This may infer evidence for slow recruitment, as has been suggested for other species (Uthicke and Benzie 2000).

This species can reproduce asexually by transverse fission of the body, and can therefore be propagated.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

In the Western Central Pacific, this species is commercially harvested in Palau, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Federal States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Coral Sea, Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef (Australia). In Samoa, 3% of the catches are this species. There is subsistence fishery in Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia (Kinch et al. 2008).

In Asia it is of commercial importance in China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Viet Nam, Indonesia (heavily exploited) and Philippines (among the most valuable species). In Japan there is a small fishery in Okinawa where one fisher hand picks this species and sells them to Chinese restaurants (Choo 2008). It has low commercial value in Kenya (Muthiga et al. 2007), Reunion (Conand 2008) and Madagascar (Rasolofonirina 2007).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

This is a relatively small species, that has an enormous loss of weight when processed (98%). It is fast-growing and can reproduce by fission. However, it is gaining more importance as it looks like Apostichopus japonicus, and maybe increasing in value in some countries.

Although not one of the most important species (medium 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 was seen in Fiji, after the decline of Actinopyga miliaris (Kinch et al. 2008).

In interviews, local Samoan fishermen expressed a general belief that recent cyclone activity has lead to a decrease in the number of this species available for harvest. This may be due to changes in the sediment, including grain size, ratio of organic material, etc. (Eriksson 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

In Samoa, there is a dry size limit of 6.3 cm TL. In Papua New Guinea, it is 20 cm TL live, and 10 cm TL dry (Kinch et al. 2008)

Sea cucumber collection has been banned in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Bruckner et al. 2003).

Citation: Conand, C., Gamboa, R. & Purcell, S. 2013. Stichopus chloronotus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T180477A1635468. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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