The southern African marine region, which lies in the transitional zone between the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific biomes, has a very rich biodiversity with elements from the two major oceanic regions. This taxonomic monograph, long-awaited by local enthusiasts, marine biologists and holothuroid specialists worldwide, focuses on the southern African Holothuroidea. It is based on the author’s approximately 55 years of research on the taxonomy of sea cucumbers with specific emphasis on the southern African fauna.
The monograph includes a brief account of the materials used; fixation, preservation and other techniques; an illustrated account of gross morphological features of mostly the shallow-water holothuroids; an illustrated glossary of the microscopic ossicles; some zoogeographical considerations; an updated checklist that summarises the composition, biodiversity and faunistic components of all southern African holothuroids; a dichotomous key to orders, families, genera and species; and the systematic account of all recorded species. All seven currently recognised orders are represented, distributed over 26 families, 76 genera and 171 nominal and 10 indeterminate species. These include a couple of new records for the southern African region. South Africa has 152 nominal species.
Each species account has a selected synonymy indicating the most pertinent synonyms, a brief diagnosis, the type locality, habitat notes, distribution data, concise remarks, a figure of the most important diagnostic characters and a distribution map. A comprehensive index and a full list of references that are cited or used in the text are also provided.