• Apostichopus japonicus ;
  • stocking density;
  • body contact;
  • chemical mediator;
  • individual growth variation


The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of physical contact on the growth of Apostichopus japonicus through various stocking densities, group culture and physical isolation culture. The results showed that the specific growth rates (SGR), the feed conversion efficiencies and the energy used for growth of the animal decreased with the increase in stocking density, while the coefficient of variations (CV) in group culture treatments increased. In high density treatments (4, 6 ind./40 L), the SGRs in isolated culture treatments were not different to those in group culture treatments of the same density, however, the CVs in the latter (58.0% and 60.4%, respectively) were significantly higher than those in the former (37.8% and 35.8%, respectively). The CV difference between group one and isolated one of the same density (20.2% and 24.7%, respectively) was less than that in single individual culture (32.7%), indicating that the effect of physical contact on growth variation was weaker than that of genetic factor. This study proved that the individual growth variation in sea cucumber resulted mainly from genetic factor and physical contact, while some chemical mediator might also be the factor affecting the growth rate of sea cucumber.