Impatient Sea Cucumber

Holothuria impatiens



Kingdom Animalia

Phylum Echinodermata

Class Holothuroidea

Subclass Aspidochirotida

Order Holothuriidae

Family Holothuria

Life History/Ecology


The impatient cucumber is a detritovore which lives in shallow waters, 0-37m in depth, in the tropics throughout the world. The impatient cucumber is of relevance because it can be found in the Caribbean Sea and more specifically the marine ecosystems surrounding Belize. H. impatiens is a detritovore and will most likely be found on soft bottoms where there is plenty of organic matter to feed on. H. impatiens is characterized by having a bumpy surface and characteristic reddish/orange and white stripes. Impatient sea cucumbers are approximately 30cm in length.


In reiteration, the impatient sea cucumber is found in shallow tropical waters. H. impatiens is a detritovore and is most likely to be found on soft bottoms where there is plenty of organic matter to feed on. Sea cucumbers can often be found by following their characteristic trails of feces caused by continuous feeding and formed from the undigested organic remnants of soil. During the day sea cucumbers live under the shelter of reefs and feed at night.


H. impatiensU is gonochoristic and reproduces via spawning. When conditions are right, the cucumbers release their gametes into the water column where they combine and form auricularian larvae which develop into adults.


Impatient sea cucumbers are solitary animals which lack highly developed sensory structures. The life of a cucumber consists of feeding and elimination of waste.

Economic/ Ecological Service

H. impatiens is not currently considered to be of any economic value.. In the environment H. impatiens plays a vital role in the elimination of waste from and recycling of nutrients in the tropical marine ecosystem.

Current research

In 2007, a study was conducted on the chemical defense compounds of H. impatiens due to chemical similarities in the compound to those of a known anti-cancer drug. (Peng Sun et al. 2007)

Legal Protection

The IUCN does not list H. impatiens as threatened and upon looking for game regulations concerning the species, none were found.

Citations and References

Vanden Berghe and Hansson. "Holothuria impatiens" (On-line), Encyclopedia of Life. Accessed May 27, 2011

James, D.B. 2001 "Holothuria impatiens" (On-line), Sealife Base Species Summary. Accessed May 27, 2011

Peng Sun1, Bao-Shu Liu1,†, Yang-Hua Yi1, Ling Li1, Min Gui2, Hai-Feng Tang3, Da-Zhi Zhang4, Shi-Long Zhang1, 2007. A New Cytotoxic Lanostane-Type Triterpene Glycoside from the Sea Cucumber Holothuria impatiens., Chemistry and Biodiversity, Vol.4, Issue 3, Zuerich: Verlag Helvetica Chimica Acta AG