Candy cane sea cucumber

Thelenota rubralineata

ORDER

Aspidochirotida

FAMILY Stichopodidae

TAXONOMY

Thelenota rubralineata Massin and Lane, 1991, Madang, Papua New Guinea.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

Sea Cucumber The Solomon Islands

H Molpadia oolitica H Chiridota hydrothermica H Thelenota rubralineata

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

A large and colorful sea cucumber to 20 in (51 cm) long and trapezoidal in cross section, the candy cane sea cucumber has a pronounced, flattened ventral sole crowded with tube feet. The dorsal side bears numerous large, pointed papillae. The candy cane sea cucumber has a unique crimson herringbone-like pattern of stripes on a white background and bears approximately 20 dull red, peltate tentacles.

DISTRIBUTION

New Guinea, Indonesia, Philippines, Sulawesi, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, and Guam.

HABITAT

Forereef slope on sand patches from 20 ft (6 m) to at least 200 ft (60 m) depth.

BEHAVIOR

Very little is known about the biology of this rare sea cucumber. It crawls exposed on the reef during the day and night and curls up by bringing its anterior and posterior ends together when disturbed.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET A deposit feeder that ingests reef sediments.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known. Probably similar to the reproductive biology of the other two members of the genus, which broadcast spawn and have indirectly developing larvae.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN or under the CITES convention. SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Harvested incidentally in small numbers with other commercially valuable holothuroids used in the beche-de-mer industry. ♦

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