Reproductive cycle of the traditionally exploited sea cucumber Holothuria tubulosa (Holothuroidea: Aspidochirotida) in Pagasitikos Gulf, western Aegean Sea, Greece

Georgios Kazanidis, Alexios P. Lolas , Dimitris Vafidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


The reproductive cycle of the traditionally exploited sea cucumber Holothuria tubulosa was investigated in the Pagasitikos
Gulf (39°18′457″N, 23°05′869″E) from June 2007 to July 2008. The study examined the microscopic characteristics of the gonads and
was based on maturity index (MI) and oocytes’ size-frequency distribution. The reproductive cycle was found to be synchronous
between sexes, following an annual pattern. The minimum MI values were recorded in December and January, marking the onset of the
reproductive cycle. During the spring, MI increased due to gamete development and proliferation. Mature specimens were prominent
in summer while spawning occurred between July and September. The maximum MI values were recorded in mid-autumn, when most
specimens were at the postspawning stage. The oocytes’ size-frequency distribution showed analogous seasonal variability. The present
findings are crucial for establishing an efficient management strategy for this commercial and ecosystem-engineering species, since its
exploitation in Greek waters has not been under official control for more than a century. The authors propose a seasonal ban on the
exploitation of the species from July to September and a minimum individual drained weight limit of 250 g.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-315
Number of pages10
JournalTurkish Journal of Zoology
Early online date21 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2014



  • histology
  • maturity index
  • gametogenesis
  • spawning
  • eastern Mediterranean

Cite this