PORT PHILLIP BAY


Soft Sea Cucumber 

Australostichopus mollis (Hutton, 1872)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Body wall ossicles are tables with perforated plate disc and four-pillared spire with spinous end that projects from the body surface. Biggest on our coast (up to 200 mm long), cucumber-shaped, soft, dark brown to mottled to pale yellow, tube feet ventrally, conical pointed papillae over rest of body. Juveniles are white with prominent papillae, and can move with a caterpillar-like action.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Echinodermata
Class:
Holothuroidea
Order:
Aspidochirotida
Family:
Stichopodidae
Genus:
Australostichopus
Species:
mollis

General Description

Body cucumber-shaped, soft, dark brown to mottled to pale yellow. Tube feet ventrally (underneath), conical pointed papillae over rest of body. Young individuals are white with prominent papillae, and move with a caterpillar-like action. Up to 20 cm long.

Biology

This is one of the biggest holothuroid species in Victorian waters. Juveniles are quite different in appearance to the adults and were initially thought to be a different species. This species was first described and named from New Zealand.

Habitat

Under surface of rocks, in sediment, and occasionally on exposed rock surfaces, to depth of at least 40 m.

Reefs

Soft substrates

Coastal shores

Distribution guide

New Zealand and southern Australia.

Species Group

Sea cucumbers

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

20 cm

Diet

Organic matter

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Species Code

MoV 1690

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author O'Loughlin, P. M.

Mark O'Loughlin is an Honorary Associate in marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
O'Loughlin, P. M., 2011, Soft Sea Cucumber, Australostichopus mollis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 19 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/4159

Text: creative commons cc by licence