World’s largest sea cucumber found in Iriomote

World’s largest sea cucumber found in Iriomote

An example of the world’s largest synaptid sea cucumber, the kurenaiooikarinamako, found in Funaura Bay, Iriomote Island, August 21. (Provided by the Iriomote Station Tropical Biosphere Research Center University of the Ryukyus)


October 9, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On August 21, an example of the world’s largest synaptid sea cucumber, the kurenaiooikarinamako, was found in Funaura Bay in Iriomote Island, Taketomi Town. Toru Naruse, an assistant professor of the Tropical Biosphere Research Center University of the Ryukyus, and three others found it. Iriomote is the fifth habitat for this type of sea cucumber to be found in the world after Oura Bay, Nago Bay, Kakeroma Island in Amami, Kagoshima Prefecture, and Palau.

The length of the sea cucumber found by Naruse is 362 centimeters. He said that it had shellfish and copepod parasites attached to it, and that because this species of shellfish is also found around Iriomote Island, there should be more sea cucumber in that area.

Given that sea cucumbers prefer quite a unique environment in which sea mud and sand are reasonably well-mixed together, Naruse said, “We found the specific environment suited to sea cucumbers in Funaura Bay. This may be why other rare creatures are also found in that bay.” He will continue his biological survey.
After being photographed and examined closely, the sea cucumber will be put in the University museum – Fukujukan – as a display specimen.

(English translation by T&CT, Shinako Oyakawa and Mark Ealey)

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