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S. maculata is a large (up to 2m) sea cucumber with 15 tentacles and variable colours: (brown-yellow) with broad longitudinal stripes and large dark patches. The spicules are characteristically very large anchors (500 µm-2000 µm long) with a smooth vertex (S. maculata spicules). S. maculata may be found on reefs, exposed on sea-grasses, amongst weeds, or below rubble.