Stichopus horrens 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Echinodermata Holothuroidea Aspidochirotida Stichopodidae

Scientific Name: Stichopus horrens Selenka, 1867
Common Name(s):
English Dragonfish, Peanutfish, Selenka's Sea Cucumber, Warty Sea Cucumber
Stichopus variegatus Semper, 1968
Taxonomic Notes:

There is a taxonomic review in process (Uthicke et al. 2010, Byrne et al. 2010).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-05-18
Assessor(s): Conand, C., Purcell, S. & Gamboa, R.
Reviewer(s): Polidoro, B., Knapp, L., Harwell, H. & Carpenter, K.E.
This species is under taxonomic review, and there have been many misidentifications with Stichopus monotuberculatus. Both species are fished throughout there range, but in general more heavily in Madagascar, the Philippines and Indonesia. It is listed as Data Deficient.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This is a wide ranging Indian and tropical Pacific species. It occurs from Madagascar to the Red Sea and Egypt, India to Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan. Its range extends eastward to the Marianas, Hawaii, Samoa and Tonga, French Polynesia and to the Galapagos Islands, Coco Island and Malpelo Island in the Eastern Pacific.

In Madagascar, this species is found from Androka in the Southwest to Nosy-be and Antongil bay in the north (Rasolofonirina pers. comm. 2010).
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Australia; Bangladesh; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Comoros; Cook Islands; Djibouti; Ecuador (Galápagos); Egypt; Eritrea; Fiji; French Polynesia; Guam; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Israel; Japan; Jordan; Kenya; Kiribati; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; 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; South Africa; 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):15
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


There are many misidentifications between this species and Stichopus montuberculatus, so much of the catch data cannot be interpreted.

Assessments of markets in Samoa show a possible decline of this species, as it is reported less frequently. In the Solomon Islands, it is considered rare. In New Caledonia, some dense patches (100 ind*ha-1) have been found (Kinch et al. 2008). In Malaysia, it is one of the most abundant species (Choo 2008).

This species is rare along reefs on La Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean (Conand and Mangion 2002).

Kalaeb et al. (2008) used transects to calculate a population density of 10 individuals of this species per hectare in near shore waters of Eritrea in eastern Africa.

Populations do not reach high densities, with a mean of around 0.007 per square meter.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

In the Western Central Pacific, this species can be found in reef flats and upper slopes, mostly on hard substates between 0 and 15 m (Kinch et al. 2008). In Malaysian reefs, the species is seen scattered with boulders of Porites spp, in shallow waters up to 10 m (Choo 2008). In Africa and the Indian Ocean region, this species prefers lagoons and seagrass beds over sand and rubble between 0 and 5 m (Conand 2008). In Madagascar, it can be found in the inner slopes, seagrass, microatoll, detrital fringe and outer flat. It is more abundant in the inner slope (Conand 2008). In the Galápagos, it prefers rocky substrates between 5 and 20 m. It normally remains hidden during the day and feeds at night. In Galápagos, this species reproduces all year long (Toral-Granda 2008).

Many sea cucumbers are broadcast spawners, which can limit the fertilization success of a species in exploited populations.

Larvae are planctonic and adults live under the rock during the day (Rasolofonirina pers comm. 2010).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

This species is fished throughout its range, and is likely to be more heavily fished in Madagascar, Indonesia and Philippines. This species disintegrates when brought out of the water, so processing can be difficult.

In the Western Pacific Region, this species is commercially exploited in Palau, Guam, FSM, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Tonga, Niue, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji where it is consumed either whole or their intestines and/or gonads as delicacies or as protein in traditional diets. Local consumption is of greater importance in times of hardship (i.e. following cyclones). This species is among the top three most commercial species in this region. There is a subsistence fishery in Guam, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, Cook Islands and Tonga (Kinch et al. 2008).

In Asia, it is of commercial importance in China, Malaysia, Indonesia (heavily exploited) and Philippines (one of most valuable commercial species). In Philippines, it is consumed by Muslims during the Ramadan season. In Malaysia, it is used commercially for the preparation of traditional medicinal products and for the medicinal properties of its coelomic fluid (Choo 2008) as well as in Madagascar and with medicinal purposes in China (Toral-Granda 2008). These raw products are traditionally processed into gamat oil and gamat water, and recently into medicated balm, toothpaste and soap (Choo 2004).

In Egypt this species is considered of secondary importance (Lawrence et al. 2004). It is heavily exploited in Madagascar (Rasolofonirina 2007, Conand 2008) and it is illegally fished in the Galápagos islands (Toral-Granda 2008).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

This species is commercially harvested throughout its range. It is part of an illegal fishery in Galapagos (Toral-Granda 2008).

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 was seen in the Galapagos Islands after the decline of Isostichopus fuscus.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

In Samoa, as of 1994 there is a ban on the collection of this species, even for subsistence use. In Moreton Bay (Australia), there is a minimum size of 17 cm TL live (Kinch et al. 2008).

Citation: Conand, C., Purcell, S. & Gamboa, R. 2013. Stichopus horrens. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T180488A1637056. . Downloaded on 27 May 2018.
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