RMCA publications

Shallow-water Holothuroidea (Echinodermata) from Kenya and Pemba Islands, Tanzania

Holothuroidea, commonly known as sea cucumbers, make up one of the five extant classes of echinoderms. A total of 225 specimens – representing three orders, four families, 12 genera, 44 species and one variety – collected in the shallow-waters of Kenya and Pemba Island (Tanzania) – are here investigated in detail. Of these, Bohadschia cousteaui, B. similis, Holothuria (Metriatyla) albiventer, Pearsonothuria graeffei, Thelenota anax, Euapta godeffroyi, Opheodesoma grisea, O. spectabilis, and Synaptula recta are new records for Kenya (with Pemba Island), while H. (M.) timana is a new record for the western Indian Ocean. Diagnostic characters and descriptions, including some brief notes on the ecology, are provided for most species. Identification keys up to the species level are also included. The holothuroid fauna of Kenya (with Pemba Island) is now represented by 48 species.

The present monograph further relates this updated and annotated taxonomic list to the holothuroid fauna of the western Indian Ocean, the area stretching from Suez to Cape Town and from the East African Coast (Red Sea and Persian Gulf included) to 65 degrees East. The motive for this extension is to promote further studies on causal zoogeography; studies that should direct the conservation of this (over)exploited group.