Members of the family Holothuriidae are propably the most common sea cucumbers found for sale as reef janitors. They typically have thick, muscular bodies equipped with tube feet used for clinging to the substrate and moving about, and pointed fleshy projections (papillae) often cover the body. With some species falling into the #1 feeding category, most are #2 type feeders, which makes these good sand sifting sea cucumbers. Many cucumbers in this group may eject quantities of sticky filamentous threads (Cuvierian tubules) or expel their internal organs to defend themselves, and some can grow quite large.
- Ashy (Holothuria cinerascens; Brandt, 1835)
- Size:To about 6 inches.
- Characteristics:Filter feeder that extends its 20 branched tentacles to catch drifting food particles in the current.
This Sea Cucumber is an omnivore, consuming detritus, uneaten food and algae present on and in the substrate of marine aquariums. It ingests the sand substrate, digesting the nutrients, expelling sand pellets in its wake.
It will expel its internal organs when threatened, which are toxic.
- Black-Spotted (Holothuria sp.)
- Size: To about 12-15 inches.
- Characteristics: Resembles the Indo-Pacific H. turriscelsa, but suggested it may be an undescribed Cucumber endemic to Hawai'i, or a deep water form of the Stubborn Sea Cucumber (H. pervicax).
- Difficult (Holothuria dificillis; Semper, 1868)
- Size:To about 5 inches.
- Characteristics:Nocturnal. Eject hard to remove sticky threads so fine they resemble a milky fluid.
- Donkey Dung (Holothuria mexicana)
- Range: Tropical West Atlantic.
- Size: To 20 inches.
- Five-Toothed (Actinopyga agassizii)
- Range: Bahamas and part of the Caribbean.
- Characteristics: Expels sticky, toxic threads.
- Golden (Holothuria parvula)
- Range: Bermuda and the West Indies.
- Characteristics: Expels sticky threads that may or may not be toxic.
- Impatient (Holothuria impatiens; Forsskal, 1775)
- Range: Southern California, Hawai'i and other tropical waters.
- Size: To 8 inches.
- Characteristics: Expels fine sticky threads that may or may not be toxic.
- Leopard (Holothuria pardalis; Selenka, 1867)
- Range: Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific.
- Size: To about 4 inches.
- Characteristics: Does not expel sticky threads.