Last update: Saturday - 25th February 2017, 29 Jamadil Awal 1438
This website has been launched since 19th April 2010


~ Gamat & Timun Laut ~ 

 "Malaysia's Marine Heritage"

Animal Planet - Sea Cucumber

"And We have made for you therein means of living and [for] those for whom you are not providers." 

"Dan Kami telah menjadikan padanya (bumi) sumber-sumber kehidupan untuk keperluanmu, dan (Kami ciptakan pula) makhluk-makhluk yang bukan kamu pemberi rezekinya."

(Surah Al-Ĥijr 15: 20)


The Sea Cucumber (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) Database is part of the outcomes of a national project entitled “Systematics of Sea Cucumbers of the Genus Holothuria (Aspidochirotida: Holothuriidae) and Phylogeography in H. leucospilota” (January 2007 – December 2008) supported by the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) Category A for cycle 01/2006 (FRGS0106-25) through the sponsorship of the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), Malaysia. This database has been launched and maintained by the Sea Cucumber (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) Research Group which was formed under the Institute of Oceanography and Maritime Studies (INOCEM), KOS, IIUM. The database was launched on-line for two times. The first launching was on 1st of January 2009 at http://sea.cucumber.kos.iium.googlepages.com/. After more than a year, the database was launched again on 10th of April 2010 at a new link i.e. http://sites.google.com/site/malaysianseacucumber/ for better site layout and data storage capacity. At the moment, the database has 11 sections: HOME page, Award & Recognition, Contact Us, Copyright & Reference, PADI SCUBA Team, Research & Consultancy, Publications & Research History, Research Student, Research Supervision, Researcher & Collaborator, and Useful Links. This easy-to-access on-line reference has enabled a lot of people around the world including business owners, academics, and researchers to refer to and be up-to-date with available research and information on Malaysia’s sea cucumbers. The database has been recently recognised at the national level as well as at the international level. It is linked to the Malaysia Maritime Database (http://marin-dbase.com/) - a national maritime database in Malaysia which contains various information on the expertise, experts, institutions, and companies pertaining to maritime education and industries.  At the international level, the database can be accessed worldwide from the US National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored project i.e. the Systema Aspidochirotidae database (http://www.guammarinelab.com/peetcukes/index.html).

Sea cucumber (aka sea cuke), holothurian or holothuroid belongs to phylum Echinodermata. This soft-bodied marine-dwelling echinoderm from class Holothuroidea is unique due to the existence of evolved skeleton (i.e. ossicles or spicules) and ancient-looked respiratory system called respiratory tree possessed by a few species.  

In Malaysia, sea cucumbers from other than family Stichopodidae e.g. genera of Holothuria, Actinopyga, Pearsonothuria, and Bohadschia are commonly known as bat, balat, and timun laut. They are also sometimes known as brunok, and hoi sum or hai shen by the Chinese community, which means "sea ginseng" - a reference to its healing propertiesStichopus species, frequently used as the main raw material in the traditional medicine (i.e. gamat oil and gamat water/fluid) especially in Peninsular Malaysia, West Malaysia are locally known as gamat. Thelenota species e.g. Thelenota ananas and Thelenota anax, and other species of family Stichopodidae are also called gamat. The same commercial name is used by the Sabah and Sarawak residents in East Malaysia. In fact, there are different definitions of gamat from previous studies in Malaysia (i.e. from 1985 until June 2011), and the most appropriate definition is that gamat is exclusively referred to the sea cucumbers of family Stichopodidae, as mentioned above

All The R-Age@CAMPUS Column, The Star newspaper, Thursday 4th October 2007 - Page 6

In Sabah, East Malaysia the sea cucumbers inclusive of gamat are commercially marketed as food, and there are minor uses as fishing poison (e.g. holothurins from Holothuria atra) and in the traditional medication. Approximately 155 tonnes of sea cucumbers were landed in 1995 as estimated by the Sabah Fisheries Department. However, the use of sea cucumbers in Sarawak, East Malaysia is not well documented and the information on the species presence and distribution is sparse. It was reported by Hashim (1993) that the Sarawak fishermen used brunok (Acaudina molpadioides (Semper, 1867)) as fishing bait.

Basically, there are 2 main economic practices of sea cucumbers in Malaysia: an important source of traditional medicine (i.e. gamat lipid extracts and gamat water extracts) as well as modern medicine in Peninsular Malaysia, West Malaysia and an important source in the food industry in Sabah, East Malaysia. 

Several studies related to sea cucumbers (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) in Malaysia have been published since 1985. The earliest study documented in Malaysia on the distribution of sea cucumbers using morphological characteristics was conducted by Ridzwan Hashim (Professor of International Islamic University Malaysia) and Che Bashah Che Chat in 1985. In fact, molecular approaches are capable of providing insights into the phylogeny of sea cucumbers and can support the outcomes of traditional morphological approaches, and a number of molecular ecological studies have also been recorded in Malaysia since 1999.

September 2004 - Sea cucumber sampling & documentation in Sabah, Malaysia in collaboration with Department of Museums Malaysia. 

Sources: Ridzwan Hashim



         7th August 2004 - Sea cucumber sampling & documentation in Langkawi Island, Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia.

Sources: Ridzwan Hashim

 GOLD MEDAL - Osama Y. Althunibat, Ridzwan Bin Hashim, Muhammad Taher, Jamaludin Mohd. Daud (2011). Malaysian Sea Cucumbers: A Promising Source of Anticancer and Antioxidant Agents. The 2011 International Islamic University Malaysia Research, Invention and Innovation Exhibition (IRIIE2011) organised by International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Malaysia, 9-10 February 2011at the Cultural Activity Centre (CAC) and KAED Gallery, IIUM, Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaCorresponding author: Ridzwan Bin Hashim. (Poster for Science, Engineering and Technology – P-191).



Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin, ‘Aisyah Mohamed Rehan, Ahmad Lutfi Lukman, Hajar Fauzan Ahmad, Mohd Hanafi Anua, Noor Faizul Hadry Nordin, Ridzwan Hashim, Rosnah Hussin, and Gires Usup (2009). Coral Reef Sea Cucumbers in Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Science, 28 (2): 171-186. ISSN 1394-3065. August 2009 (Malaysia). Corresponding author: Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin. Indexation status: MyAIS, Elsevier Bibliographic Databases (Scopus, EMBASE, Compendex, GEOBASE, EMBiology, Elsevier BIOBASE, FLUIDEX and Word Textiles); CAB Abstracts and Chemical Abstracts (American Chemical Society) Service Database. (ISI pending).
Note: For the updated list of sea cucumbers in Malaysia (i.e. for Table 1), refer to - Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin, ‘Aisyah Mohamed Rehan, Ridzwan Hashim and Gires Usup (2010). An Update on Diversity of Sea Cucumber (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) in Malaysia. Malayan Nature Journal 62(3): 315-334. ISSN 0025-1291 (Malaysia). Corresponding author: Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin. Indexation status: ISI Thomson Reuters (Web of Science), Scopus (Elsevier Science), Zoological Record, MyAIS, BIOSIS Previews.
Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin (2006). Phylogeny of Sea Cucumber (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) in Malaysia as Inferred from 16S Mitochondrial rRNA Gene Sequences. Masters Dissertation, University Kebangsaan Malaysia. Corresponding author: Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin. (Technical paper). 
Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin, Ridzwan Hashim and Gires Usup (2010). Phylogeny of Sea Cucumber (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) as Inferred from 16S Mitochondrial rRNA Gene Sequences. Sains Malaysiana, 39 (2): 209-218. ISSN 0126-6039. April 2010 (Malaysia). Corresponding author: Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin. Indexation status: ISI Thomson Reuters (Science Citation Index Expanded/SciSearch®, Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition), Scopus (Elsevier Science), Chemical Abstracts (American Chemical Society), Zentralblatt MATH (European Mathematical Society), Zoological Record, MyAIS, Google Scholar.
Note: For the updated molecular phylogeny of sea cucumbers in Malaysia, refer to - Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin, ‘Aisyah Mohamed Rehan, Ridzwan Hashim and Gires Usup (2010). An Update on Diversity of Sea Cucumber (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) in Malaysia. Malayan Nature Journal 62(3): 315-334. ISSN 0025-1291 (Malaysia). Corresponding author: Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin. Indexation status: ISI Thomson Reuters (Web of Science), Scopus (Elsevier Science), Zoological Record, MyAIS, BIOSIS Previews.
Ridzwan Hashim (1993). Sumber Makanan Persisiran Laut Sabah. Malaysia: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka, p. 309.

Ridzwan Hashim and Che Bashah Che Chat (1985). Tinjauan awal taburan dan penilaian holothurian di beberapa kawasan perairan Sabah sebagai sumber pemakanan. SUMBER I: 143-155.


Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin, Maryam Mohamed Rehan and Nur Aliah Bahaman (2017). Morphological and molecular identification of ossicle shapes in sea cucumber species Holothuria scabra, Stichopus horrens and Stichopus ocellatus from Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia. Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science 40(1): 161–172. ISSN 1511-3701. 21st February 2017 (Malaysia). Corresponding author: Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin. Indexation status: SCOPUS (Elsevier), Thomson (ISI) Web of Knowledge [BIOSIS & CAB Abstracts], EBSCO & EBSCOhost, DOAJ, Agricola, Cabell’s Directories, Google Scholar, MyAIS, ISC & Rubriq (Journal Guide). Impact factor: 0.

More details of research documents on Malaysia's sea cucumbers are available on the following page:

- (G) Publications & Research History -

- For consultation & other matters, please contact: -

- Physique481@yahoo.co.uk - 


KAMARUL RAHIM BIN KAMARUDIN - Visiting scientist of the Marine Laboratory, University of Guam (UOG), USA & Official invitee of NSF PEET Holothuroid Systematics Workshop, 7-16 June 2010 at the Marine Laboratory, UOG, USA.


Corresponding Author & Email Address:


- Physique481@yahoo.co.uk -


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You can also refer to us as follows:
Kamarul Rahim Kamarudin (ed) (2010). Sea Cucumber (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) Database. Available online at  http://sites.google.com/site/malaysianseacucumber/. Accessed on [date].