Thelenota ananas (Jaeger, 1833) / size unrecorded

Featured Invertebrate Data


Frequency on Okinawa: Collection / Photo Data:
[brackets indicate range for all Okinawa-collected specimens of the species]

Species Account:

        Thelenota ananas is considered to be relatively common in Okinawan waters, at least in suitable habitat. The species is often seen in shallow coral reef areas, reef flats and slopes. Although I've not collected any specimens, the species is commonly seen in numerous dive site in Okinawan waters. T. ananas, is know by numerous common names which include the pineapple sea cucumber, tripang, prickly skin cucumber, pointed teat sea cucumber, armored sea cucumber, giant sea cucumber, sand fish, as well as others. I don't have access to Jaeger's original 1833 publication, but perhaps he named it ananas from the native name of the pineapple, Tupi ananas.

        The following information of Thelenota ananas is from WoRMS (World Register of Marine Species):


Appearance in life: shaggy, orange-brown above, light red band of tube feet about half the width of sole running longitudinally, laterial podia and oral tentacles orange-yellow, stems of podia deep red (Humphreys, 1981). Also distributed in Maldive area, East Indies, north Australia, China, south Japan and South Pacific Is. (Clark & Rowe, 1971); Australia (Rowe & Gates, 1995).

General distribution: tropical, Indo-west Pacific, depth range 3-20 m. (Rowe & Gates, 1995); widespread in the tropical Indo-Pacific, excluding Hawaii (Conand, 1998).

Ecology: benthic, inshore, detritus feeder, deposit feeder (Rowe & Gates, 1995). Habitat: hard bottoms, large rubble and coral patches, on reef slopes and near passes, depth range from surface down to 25 m. (Conand, 1998).

In addition, the following information is from EOL (Encyclopedia of Life):

Habitat and Ecology This species is found along slopes and passes within reef zones (Skewes et al. 2004) and along outer reef flats (Conand and Mangion 2002) to depths of 35 m, but is more common in waters from 10-20 m. It is a large, conspicuous species, with relatively lower fecundity and relatively low weight gonads and sexual maturity, making it more vulnerable to overfishing (Conand 1998).

They are distributed mainly in shallow coral reef areas, on reef flats, reef slopes and near passes on sandy or hard bottoms with large rubble and coral patches. It is common in shallow waters of reef bottom where there is no terrigenous action, at depths from 0 to 20 m. They prefer rubble and hard bottoms covered with a layer of coral sand.

Larvae are planctonic, juveniles and adults are benthic epibiontic (Rasolofonirina pers comm. 2010).

Generation length is unknown for this species. Body size is not a good indicator of age or longevity. There is some indication, however, that many echinoderms do not go through senescence, but simply regenerate. Therefore generation length cannot be estimated, but is assumed to be greater than several decades in a natural, undisturbed environment.

In the Western Central Pacific, this species prefers reef slopes and near passes, hard bottoms with large rubble and coral patches between 0 and 25 m (Kinch et al. 2008). In the Africa and Indian Ocean, it prefers coral slopes over hard substratum between 5 and 35 m (Conand 2008). In Comores, it prefers hard bottoms or coral rubble (Samyn et al. 2006).

In Guam, this species reproduces almost all year long, with the exception of March, September and October; and in New Caledonia, it has an annual reproductive cycle from January to March (Kinch et al. 2008). It has a late sexual maturity (Conand 2008).

This species is host to the pearl fish Carapus homei, C. boraborensis, Encheliophis vermicularis, and E. gracilis.(Eeckhaut et al. 2004).

There are a series of excellent photographs of Thelenota ananas found on iNaturalist.
Also, a short YouTube film.


  • I don't have access to Jaeger's original 1933 publication but he possibly named the species in reference to Tupi ananas=anass=nanas, the native name of the pineapple.

Literature Cited:

  • EOL. (http://eol.org/pages/2984563/overview).
  • iNaturalist. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/83882-Thelenota-ananas/browse_photos.
  • WoRMS (2018). Thelenota ananas (Jaeger, 1833). http://www.marinespecies.org/aphia.php?p=taxdetails&id=210916 on 2018-04-25.

        I've added a second page w/ a series of images of the species.

        In addition, I've added a link to the current and past featured invertebrates via a list and thumbnails.

Page Date: 01 Jul '18
Page Modification Date: 01 Jul '18
Digitally manipulated photo (image has been horizontally flipped)
Copyright © 2018 Robert F. Bolland