Holothuria glaberrima

Holothuria glaberrima
Holothuria glaberrima Selenka, 1867.jpg
Sketch of Holothuria glaberrima
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Class: Holothuroidea
Order: Holothuriida
Family: Holothuriidae
Genus: Holothuria
H. glaberrima
Binomial name
Holothuria glaberrima
Selenka, 1867

Holothuria (Selenkothuria) glaberrima, also known as the brown rock sea cucumber,[2] is a species of sea cucumber in the genus Holothuria, subgenus Selenkothuria. The cucumber is distributed in the Western Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.[3] The species is found at a depth of 0–42 meters.[4]


The body of Holothuria glaberrima is cigar-shaped, with a whorl of twenty bushy feeding tentacles at the anterior end surrounding the mouth. The cuticle is leathery and tough; the dorsal surface is smooth, while the ventral surface or "sole" bears three longitudinal rows of dark brown tube feet. This sea cucumber grows to a length of 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in). The general colour is blackish, dark brown or occasionally grey, without any spots, while the tentacles are black.[5]

Distribution and habitat

Holothuria glaberrima is native to the tropical western Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico; its range includes the West Indies. Florida, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Brazil. It occurs at depths down to about 42 m (140 ft).[4] It lives under rocks in areas with considerable water movement.[5]


Sea cucumbers are able to regenerate their complete digestive systems and grow back most parts of the body following injury. Because of this, and because of the closeness of the relationship of echinoderms to vertebrates, sea cucumbers have been used in regeneration research. Holothuria glaberrima has been widely used as a model organism for this purpose, and to facilitate these studies, the genome has been sequenced.[6]


  1. ^ Alvarado, J.J.; Paola Ortiz, E.; Benavides, M.; Toral-Granda, M.V. (2013). "Holothuria glaberrima". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013: e.T180252A1606029. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T180252A1606029.en. Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  2. ^ "ITIS Standard Report Page: Holothuria glaberrima". www.itis.gov. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  3. ^ "WoRMS – World Register of Marine Species – Holothuria (Selenkothuria) glaberrima Selenka, 1867". www.marinespecies.org. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  4. ^ a b "Holothuria glaberrima". www.sealifebase.ca. Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  5. ^ a b Kaplan, Eugene Herbert (1999). A Field Guide to Coral Reefs: Caribbean and Florida. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 200. ISBN 9780618002115.
  6. ^ Medina-Feliciano, Joshua G.; Pirro, Stacy; García-Arrarás, Jose E.; Mashanov, Vladimir; Ryan, Joseph F. (2021). "Draft genome of the sea cucumber Holothuria glaberrima, a model for the study of regeneration". Frontiers in Marine Science. 8: 603410. doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.603410.