A sea cucumber (Oestergrenia digitata)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



A long, slender and worm-like sea cucumber that reaches 30 cm in length and is typically coloured red or brown, with darker colouration on the dorsal surface. Tube feet are lacking. The mouth is surrounded by 12 tentacles- each with 2 pairs of lateral digits.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found in northern North Sea around the Shetland Islands, the Irish Sea and western coasts of Great Britain. In English Channel, restricted to southern coasts of Devon and Cornwall.

Global distribution

In addition to UK distribution, also found on western and southern coasts of Ireland, as well as in the Adriatic and Aegean Seas. Absent from French side of English Channel.


Found partially or wholly buried in clean or muddy sands.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Body long, slender and worm-like.
  • Tube feet absent.
  • 12 tentacles, each with 2 pairs of lateral digits plus a rudimentary terminal digit.
  • Ossicles as anchors and racket-shaped anchor plates with handles up to 35 µm long.
  • Calcareous ring with 12 radially-perforated parts.
  • Adults up to 30 cm long.
  • Colour red or brown, darker on dorsal side.

Additional information

  • Similar to Labidoplax thompsoni, which differs in having thickened plates in its anterior body wall.

Listed by

- none -



    1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset https://www.nmni.com/CEDaR/CEDaR-Centre-for-Environmental-Data-and-Recording.aspx accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-25.

    2. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

    3. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-05-18


    This review can be cited as:

    Bilewitch, J. 2009. Oestergrenia digitata A sea cucumber. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 18-05-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2300

    Last Updated: 07/07/2009