Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This Atlantic species is recorded from Florida, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Lesser Antilles, Curacao, Cuba, Mexico, Haiti, Belize, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, and to the south of Brazil (Hendler et al. 1995, Garcia et al. 2005, Alvarado 2010, Hadel et al. 1999, Magalhaes et al. 2005, Mendes et al. 2006)
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In Panama this species has been collected from Devils Beach, Limon Bay, Fort Sherman (USNM E 21700), from the Inlet West of Bocas Del Toro (USNM E 21699), and from Galeta Point, Galeta Island (USNM E 21701; Centroid Latitude: 9.40167, Centroid Longitude: -79.86333), Caribbean Sea.

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“Florida (but not reported from the Florida Keys), the Bahama Islands, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Lesser Antilles to Curacao, Panama, Colombia, southern Brazil, and West Africa. Although reported for coastal Texas, it may not be a year-round inhabitant there (Pomory 1989).
Depth: Less than 5 m (less than 16 ft)” (Hendler Miller, Pawson, Kier 287).

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Physical Description

Size

“Individuals of this species can reach a length of 25 em (10 in). The body is subcylindrical, with a distinctly flattened sole covered with numerous cylindrical tube feet. The upper body surface carries six rows (four in young animals) of papillae, borne upon very large warts, each wart surrounded by 5-10 small tube feet. The mouth is directed slightly downward, with 20-25 bushy peltate tentacles.
The striking, harlequin colors of this species are a helpful distinguishing feature. The ground color of living animals, red or yellowish red, contrasts with brown mottling and with white papillae with yellow tips on the upper body. The feet on the sole are yellow-tipped, and the tentacles are yellow.
The body wall ossicles, tables with about 12 marginal spines on the disk, are scattered. There is also an inner layer of plates, with two or four central holes and some smaller peripheral holes, and the margins of the plates are equipped with blunt teeth” (Hendler, Miller, Pawson, Kier 287).

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Diagnostic Description

References and links

Selenka, E. (1867). Beitrage zur Anatomie und Systematik der Holothurien. Der Philosophischen Facultat zu Gottingen in December 1866, als Dissertation vorgelegt.: pp. 291-374.

Pawson, D. L., D. J. Vance, C. G. Messing, F. A. Solis-Marin, and C. L. Mah. (2009). Echinodermata of the Gulf of Mexico, Pp. 1177–1204 in Felder, D.L. and D.K. Camp (eds.), Gulf of Mexico–Origins, Waters, and Biota. Biodiversity. Texas A&M Press, College S.

World Register of Marine Species

LSID urn:lsid:marinespecies.org:taxname:241833


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Synonymised taxa

Holothuria unicolor Selenka, 1867

Ludwigothuria grisea (Selenka, 1867)

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is found on seagrass beds, sandy bottoms and reefs in shallow waters (Hendler et al. 1995).

Systems
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 52 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 4 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 2 - 37
  Temperature range (°C): 25.868 - 25.889
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.114 - 0.115
  Salinity (PPS): 35.984 - 36.068
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.643 - 4.672
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.134 - 0.136
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.451 - 1.455

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 2 - 37

Temperature range (°C): 25.868 - 25.889

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.114 - 0.115

Salinity (PPS): 35.984 - 36.068

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.643 - 4.672

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.134 - 0.136

Silicate (umol/l): 1.451 - 1.455
 
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Depth range based on 52 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 4 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 2 - 37
  Temperature range (°C): 25.868 - 25.889
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.114 - 0.115
  Salinity (PPS): 35.984 - 36.068
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.643 - 4.672
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.134 - 0.136
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.451 - 1.455

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 2 - 37

Temperature range (°C): 25.868 - 25.889

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.114 - 0.115

Salinity (PPS): 35.984 - 36.068

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.643 - 4.672

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.134 - 0.136

Silicate (umol/l): 1.451 - 1.455
 
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“Generally on seagrass flats, but in Florida it is commonly associated with Phragmatopoma lapidosa Kinberg worm reefs, and on sandy bottoms” (Hendler, Miller, Pawson, Kier 287).

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Associations

Caribulus sculptus (Humes, 1969) (parasitic: endoparasitic)
Diogenidium nasutum Edwards, 1891 (parasitic: endoparasitic)

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

"Its numerous tube feet give H.
grisea
a tenacious grip on hard substrates,
and it cannot be pulled away from aquarium
walls without damaging the feet. On the
southeast coast of Florida, large numbers of
these sea cucumbers are often associated
with Phragmatopoma lapidosa worm reefs,
at least during the summer months. At one
locality (Fort Walton rocks, near Fort Pierce),
individuals disappear from the reefs during
the winter, possibly migrating some distance
offshore. In some localities, individuals are
numerous in shallow lagoons, especially
where marine grasses are abundant. During
extreme low tides, these areas may be almost
desiccated and the temperatures can exceed
35°C, but the holothuroids somehow are capable
of tolerating the harsh conditions.
A preliminary study of ovarian ultrastructure
and oogenesis in this species revealed
features typical of several other holothuroids
that have been similarly examined
(Eckelbarger and Young 1992). However, the
oocytes of H. grisea have highly branched
microvilli and endocytotic vesicles, which
may be involved in the uptake of nutrients
during yolk production. Its pattern of coelom
formation during early development has also
been studied, with surprising results (Balser
et al. 1993). Although holothuroid larvae
were thought to lack an axocoel, the auricularia
larva of this and other species was
found to possess an axocoel that is lined with
mesothelial podocytes and is connected, by a
duct, to a pore on the dorsal surface of the
larva" (Hendler et al 287).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Alvarado, J.J., Paola Ortiz, E., Benavides, M. & Toral-Granda, T.-G.

Reviewer/s
Polidoro, B., Carpenter, K.E., Knapp, L. & Harwell, H.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is widely distributed. It is known to occur in fisheries in Colombia and Brazil, however this does not appear to be a major threat. It is listed as Least Concern.
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Population

Population
A density of 0.3ind*m-2 was found at Ilha Grande, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Ventura et al. 2007). In Santa Catarina, Brazil a study found densities between 1.60-8.04ind*m-2 (Mendes et al. 2006).

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no known major threats to this species. It is fished in small parts of its range.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no known species specific conservation measures for this species. It likely occurs in a number of marine protected areas within its range.
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