Holothuria hilla (Tigertail Sea Cucumber) – Complete Guide

Holothuria hilla Featured Image

Holothuria hilla is a type of sea cucumber. It has many names, like the Contractile Sea Cucumber, the Sand Sifting Sea Cucumber, and the Tigertail Sea Cucumber. It’s also known as the Light Spotted Sea Cucumber in Hawaii.

Holothuria hilla is found in the Indo-Pacific region and the Red Sea.

What Does Holothuria hilla Look Like?

Holothuria hilla is a cylindrical sea cucumber. It’s a bit smaller at the back end. It can grow to be about 16 inches (40 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide. The skin is thin, soft, and has wrinkles.

The top side of Holothuria hilla is covered with rows of tube feet that look like thorns. These are white, different from the skin color that can be pink, gold, or brown.

The bottom side is similar but the thorns are longer and yellow. The mouth is on the bottom and is surrounded by a ring of twenty, yellowish flat tentacles.

Where Does Holothuria hilla Live?

Holothuria hilla is found in the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and the tropical west and central Indo-Pacific oceans, even as far east as Hawaii, and even Panama.

It lives at less than 100 feet (30 m) deep, but sometimes it can be as deep as 660 feet (200 m).

Holothuria hilla can be found on sandy, rocky, and coral ground, in lagoons, seagrass meadows, and flat areas.

How Does Holothuria hilla Eat?

Holothuria hilla is a detritivore, meaning it eats dead plant and animal parts.

It uses its oral tentacles to rake sand into its mouth, then it digests the bacteria, animal, and plant particles, and the sand goes out through its anus. This way, it churns up a lot of the seabed.

How Does Holothuria hilla Reproduce?

Holothuria hilla has two ways to reproduce. One is sexual, where the male and female release their gametes into the water. The other is asexual, by splitting.

When it’s hotter, Holothuria hilla sea cucumbers mostly reproduce sexually, but when it’s cooler, they reproduce asexually.

In Réunion, where the Holothuria hilla species is rare, only asexual reproduction has been observed.

What Is the Habitat Range and Size of Holothuria Hilla?

Holothuria hilla is found in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean. It’s usually about 10 inches (25 cm) long.

Holothuria hilla is found on inner reef flats and seagrass beds, usually at depths between 3 – 65 feet (1 – 20 m).

What Are Some Things to Keep in Mind when Keeping Holothuria Hilla in An Aquarium?

Holothuria hilla is occasionally available in the aquarium trade.

Here are a few things to remember while keeping Holothuria hilla in an aquarium:

  • Holothuria hilla is only suitable for well-established, large aquariums with wide-open, fine sand beds.
  • It eats microorganisms and organic matter in the sand.
  • Sinking shrimp pellets can be a food source for Holothuria hilla.
  • Some fish are not good tankmates for Holothuria hilla.
  • Holothuria hilla is very sensitive to sudden changes in salinity. So, you need to carefully acclimate Holothuria hilla by putting it in a separate container before putting it in your aquarium.
  • You should not let the water in its shipping bag enter the aquarium because it might have toxins.

Additional Tips for Keeping Holothuria hilla in An Aquarium

Holothuria hilla is good for moving sand and is recommended for reef tanks. But it will not survive in new aquariums because there is not enough detritus in the sand bed for it to eat.

Smaller specimens of Holothuria hilla live longer in aquariums than larger ones.

Holothuria hilla is one of the more popular sea cucumbers. They must be removed if the aquarium is going to be treated with copper-based medicines.

What Is the Ideal Environment for Holothuria hilla in An Aquarium?

The ideal environment for Holothuria hilla in an aquarium includes the following:

  • Aquarium: Reef or fish-only aquarium
  • Coral-Safe: Yes
  • Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons
  • Water Temperature Range: 72°F – 83°F (22°C – 28°C)
  • pH: 8.0 – 8.4
  • Specific Gravity: 1.023 – 1.025

You can check out what this invertebrate looks like over here.

Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Holothuria hilla
Also Known As:Tigertail Sea Cucumber, Contractile Sea Cucumber, Sand Sifting Sea Cucumber, Light Spotted Sea Cucumber
Conservation Status:Unknown

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *