Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumber belongs to the echinodermsand tube-feet family. An adult sea cucumber has 10 finger-like tentacles that are easily recognized from the front and back. Sea cucumber is related to starfish and belongs to the echinoderm family. All the species in this class have a 5-partsymmetrical body which can be easily observed in starfish.  If the sea cucumber loses one of its tentacles, it can replace and rebuild it in 3 weeks. The lifespan of the sea cucumber is about 8 years. When we catch sea cucumber and hold it in our hand, it expels its intestines which shortens its lifespan and even causing the sea cucumber to die sometimes. In some cases, sea cucumber can even rebuild the lost organs.

Different Types of the Sea Cucumber in the gulfs

2 Types of sea cucumber is found in the gulfs:

  1. Thyon briareus or the common sea cucumber. Common sea cucumber is light brown and grows between 4 and 5 inches. Thyon briareus has a plump body that is covered with feeding tubes.
  2. Cucumaria Pulcherrima or light sea cucumber. Cucumaria Pulcherrima has a symmetrical body ranging from white to light yellow and between 1 to 2 inches. They also have 5 rows of feeding tubes along their bodies.
Iranian fish | Sea Cucumber


Distribution and Habitat of the Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumber can be found in deep-sea or gulf waters. Sea cucumber uses their tube legs to crawl, dig the sands and sediments. Sea cucumber hides most of their bodies except for the front and back of the head.


Food Source of Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumber eats planktons and other small particles such as the organic matter in sea beds using their tentacles.


Reproduction of Sea Cucumber

Fertilization happens when mature sea cucumbers release their eggs and sperms in water. Sea cucumbers raise the front of their bodies like a cobra. The larvae stay planktonic- floating on the surface of the water for several weeks. The adolescent sea cucumber moves to the deep waters, live among the rocks and reach maturity after a couple of years.

Sea Cucumber makes up a major group of marine animals. Sea cucumber belongs to the echinoderms phylum. Sea cucumber has a leather-like body and lives mostly in sea beds. It is called sea cucumber because it looks like a cucumber.Cucumber is a reptile that crawls easily on boulders or cliffs. Sea cucumber collects and eats pieces of food from its surroundings with a sticky liquid that releases from its hands. More than 1400 species of sea cucumber have been identified.

Sea cucumber belongs to the Holothuriidae, Stichopotidae and Cucumariidae family.These 3 species are mostly distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions. There are about 28 species of sea cucumber that are edible. Most of the Holothuria speciesare found on the coasts of Sistan and Baluchistan, Iran.

Sea cucumber is a valuable marine animal. In addition to having enough protein and high nutritional value-55% protein and 2% fat, Sea cucumber is used in the treatment of many illnesses and also in the pharmaceutical industry.Sea cucumbers are especially important in Southeast Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines, and other East Asian countries. Among these countries, China is considered as the biggest producer, consumer, and importer of the sea cucumber. Sea cucumber is used in Chinese medicine for cleansing of the blood and treatment of kidney and skin problems.The annual consumption of dried sea cucumber in China is 10000-12000 tons. Sea cucumber is processed and consumed as fresh and dried. Sea cucumber is considered one of the most popular seafood in China. Since this valuable marine animal is very popular, it makes sense to begin breeding andsingle/mixed farming of sea cucumber. Therefore, a lot of the above-mentioned countries have many years of experience in breeding and farming sea cucumber.Considering the above mentioned and the following reasons, not only entering the breeding and farming of sea cucumber industry is of economic value, but it also supports breeding and farming of shrimps while producing a new product.

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Benefits of Sea Cucumber Farming

  • Bringing money into the country
  • Using cheap food in sea cucumber farming such as Detritus, variety of species and their relatively quick growth
  • Sea cucumber uses in the food and pharmaceutical industry
  • Sea Cucumber is widely distributed
  • The toxins derived from the immunity system of the sea cucumber has anti-viral, anti-tumor and pregnancy prevention properties
  • There are considerable stocks of sea cucumber in Southern coasts of Iran
  • Easy and low-cost breeding of sea cucumber
  • Breeding and farming sea cucumber with other aquatic animals such as shrimps
  • Lowering the organic load of the pond bends in breeding with shrimp by feeding sea cucumbers organic matter and food waste left from shrimpwhich increases the quality of the product
  • Sea cucumber has a high tolerance for environmental changes such as water salinity levels and also temperature


General Characteristics of the Sea Cucumber

  • Sea cucumber has a tube-shaped body that is between 20 to 40 cm long and 3 to 6 cm wide.
  • The body is quadrangular in cross-section. The abdomen is flat. Sea cucumber has tube-shaped legs in three irregular longitudinal rows on the abdomen.
  • Sea cucumber has a protruding back and 4 to 6 rows of irregular small ridges.
  • The mouth is anterior and inclined to the back.
  • There is a protrusion on the back of the mouth called گونوفر(analcavity).


Nutritional Value of Sea Cucumber

China is one of the first countries to have introduced and consumed sea cucumber. Sea cucumber is recognized as a high-protein and fat-free food. Sea cucumber is a nutritious food that makes the body stronger. According to laboratory analysis, 100 gr of the Stichopus japanicus cucumber has:

  • 76% water
  • 21% protein
  • 3% fat
  • 1% carbohydrate
  • 1% ash
  • 18 mg calcium
  • 22 mg phosphorus
  • 4 mg iron

TheStichopus japanicus cucumber has 6 gr of iodine per kg of dry weight. Its intestines contain:

  • 49% water
  • 86% lean protein
  • 68% fat
  • 78% ash
high quality Sea Cucumber

Medicinal Properties of Sea Cucumber

Since the kings of the Ming dynasty in China, sea cucumbers have been used as a useful and effective medicine. The Stichopus japanicus cucumber is highly effective in treating kidney problems, constipation, pulmonary tuberculosis, anemia, diabetes, etc.

The viscera of sea cucumber are effective in treating epilepsy and its intestines heal stomach pains and duodenal ulcers.According to a medical research, transplanted tissues, skin, corpus callosum, and internal chorium of Stichopusjapanicus tubular sebaceous glands have mucopolysaccharide compounds that can have a great effect on growth, healing of inflammation, bone formation, and prevention of tissue aging and atherosclerosis. In addition, mucopolysaccharide has major anti-cancer effect.

It seems that Intravenous or Intraventricularinjection of this drug affects 180 S and 37 S tumors that have been placed in the body for experiments. It also has severe effects on its side tissues at the same time.Holotoxin extracted from sea cucumber has antimicrobial effect (anti-nervous disorders).Because it has a concentration of 6.25-25 or micrograms per milliliter, it is also considered anti-fungal.

The species of sea cucumber that have the same medicinal properties as Stichopus japanicus are as follows:

  • varegatus
  • chloronotus
  • thelenota ananas jeager
  • bohadschia arugus jea

Farming and Exporting Sea cucumber in the Southern Waters of Iran

Sea cucumbers are greatly used in the food and pharmaceutical industries in Southeast Asia, China, and the Arab world. Every year in China, millions of sea cucumbers are released in the sea that can be farmed after two years which hasa great annual economic benefit for Chinese fishermen. The sea cucumbers produced in Iran is exported to Southeast Asian countries and China. Powdered sea cucumber has a lot of uses in the pharmaceuticals and food industry. Sea cucumber is also very popular in Arab countries and used in some foods. Therefore, exporting sea cucumber to Arab countries must be seriously considered.

Sea Cucumber makes up a major group of marine animals. Sea cucumber belongs to the echinoderms phylum. Sea cucumber has a leather-like body and lives mostly in sea beds. It is called sea cucumber because it looks like a cucumber. Cucumber is a reptile that crawls easily on boulders or cliffs. Sea cucumber collects and eats pieces of food from its surroundings with a sticky liquid that releases from its hands.

Sea cucumber Toxin and Treating Burn Wounds

Iran Gulf Technology Development Center has farmed a fish called sea cucumber that has the saponin toxin in its body, which is taken raw from this marine animal and has antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Iran Gulf Technology Development Centerhas produced anti-ulcer and burn ointments from sea cucumber toxin, which is four times more effective in early testing than the best ointments on the market in healing wounds and burns.

Iran Gulf Technology Development Center has produced anti-ulcer and burn ointments from sea cucumber toxin, which early testing has shown that it heals wounds and burns four times faster than the best wound and burn ointments on the market.