E-Fauna BC Home

Cucumaria pallida Kirkendale and Lambert, 1995
Pale Sea Cucumber
Family: Cucumariidae


© Royal BC Museum     (Photo ID #2167)


E-Fauna BC Static Map

Distribution of Cucumaria pallida in British Columbia in British Columbia


Click on the image below to view an expanded illustration for this taxon. If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., two subspecies may be illustrated) then links to the separate images will be provided below.

Species Information

Cucumaria pallida has a typical cucumarid shape. It can grow up to 26 cm long. This species has five rows of tube feet - the three ventral rows being better developed than the other two. In preserved specimens the tube feet may be retracted and appear as dimples. In a live specimen, the 10 equal-sized tentacles are long and wispy and usually white. The body is pale orange-white or tan.

Skin ossicles: circular or oval perforated plates, some with one end tapering; knobs on surface of many plates.

Similar Species

Until recently, Cucumaria pallida was assumed to be a pale form of Cucumaria miniata. They live in similar habitats and breed close to the same time. The most obvious difference, apart from the colour, is the form of the tentacles when extended. Cucumaria pallida has thin, wispy, white tentacles, whereas Cucumaria miniata's tentacles are thicker at the base, bushier and usually orange or brown. Internally, Cucumaria pallida has an average of 9 madreporic bodies, while Cucumaria miniata has 45.

The white tentacles of Eupentacta can be confused with those of C. pallida, but the former has eight larger tentacles and two tiny ones. C. pallida has 10 equal tentacles.



pallida = pale

Cucumaria pallida feeds in the same way as C. miniata.

Spawning occurs from mid March to early May. Adult females produce long strands of eggs, 1 to 2 eggs wide, which break up in 12 to 15 minutes. Up to 8,800 tan-coloured eggs (mean diameter 504 μm) are produced. Each egg develops into a pelagic three-ringed doliolaria larva, which is repelled by light.

Because this species was assumed to be Cucumaria miniata, there is little published information on the biology of this species. McEuen (1987) recognized it as a different species based on its reproductive biology, but referred to it as Cucumaria fallax in his publications.


Cucumaria pallida is common beneath rock rubble in sheltered waters or in a current. It often occurs together with Cucumaria miniata, but unlike the latter is more common in quieter waters. It is common in Saanich Inlet, British Columbia; and also occurs among rubble at Ogden Point Breakwater, Victoria.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)

BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

General References