Fisheries Science

, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 601–610 | Cite as

Spatial variation of quantitative color traits in green and black types of sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus (Stichopodidae) using image processing

  • Katsumasa Yamada
  • Masakazu HoriEmail author
  • Susumu Matsuno
  • Tatsuo Hamano
  • Masami Hamaguchi
Original Article Biology


It has been suggested that the Japanese sea cucumber, Apostichopus japonicus, has three color types (red, green, and black), although the qualitative difference between the color types, particularly between the green and black types, is unclear because of continuous color variation among color types. This study elucidated the color variation between green and black types using image processing (RGB, red–green–blue system) and multivariate analysis to demonstrate whether or not the black and green types can be quantitatively classified. Moreover, spatial variation of the RGB value among various local sites was clarified to estimate potential environmental factors that may affect the color variation. The series of analyses revealed that a quantitative boundary between green and black types could be provisionally established, and also that spatial variability in the intermediate (continuous) color trait between green and black types was significant. Potential environmental factors (depth and industrial activity index) were correlated with the color traits in both color types. These results suggest that the green and black types cannot be regarded as independent color traits and that the color variation between green and black types may be influenced by local environmental factors.


Apostichopus japonicus Color variation Discriminant analysis RGB Sea cucumber 



We thank G. Yoshida, M. Sasaki, and S. Kamimura for help with the analysis and discussion. This study was supported by research project funds from Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council (Strategic promotion of research in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries no.1915).


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katsumasa Yamada
    • 1
  • Masakazu Hori
    • 1
    Email author
  • Susumu Matsuno
    • 2
  • Tatsuo Hamano
    • 3
  • Masami Hamaguchi
    • 1
  1. 1.National Research Institute of Fisheries and Environment of Inland SeaFisheries Research AgencyHatsukaichiJapan
  2. 2.Inland Sea Research DivisionYamaguchi Prefectural Fisheries Research CenterYamaguchiJapan
  3. 3.Department of Applied AquabiologyNational Fisheries UniversityYamaguchiJapan

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