Chelidonura fulvipunctata

Chelidonura fulvipunctata Baba, 1938

Chelidonura fulvipunctata 1cm @ S'Algar, Menorca (5 m.) 21-08-2015 by Enric Madrenas
Class: Gastropoda  Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia  J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura  Spengel, 1881
Clade: Euopisthobranchia  Jörger et al., 2010
Clade: Cephalaspidea  P. Fischer, 1883
Superfamily: Philinoidea  J.E. Gray, 1850
Family: Aglajidae  Pilsbry, 1895 (1847)
Genus: Chelidonura  A. Adams, 1850
Species: Chelidonura fulvipunctata  Baba, 1938


  • Chelidonura conformata Burn, 1966
  • Chelidonura mediterranea Swennen, 1961

A somewhat cylindrical and elongated body, with an internal and membranous shell, divided into a head shield and a visceral hump on the rear end, partially covered by the mantle. The head shield has a wider and roughly bilobed front edge, and covers the first two thirds of the total body length. It can reach a maximum length of 33 mm (Sammut & Perrone, 1998) but the usual size is between 10 and 20mm. The color pattern can be very variable: some specimens are velvety black or dark brown with bluish reflections, dotted with spots of golden white or orange, while other specimens are rust-like brown with fine yellow dots. In any case, all of them have a “W” mark on the leading edge of the head as well as a white or cream colored spot at the rear end of the head shield, and also have five orange points in the front of the head. A number of sensory bristles located on the front of the head, densest on two prominences to the sides of the mouth, allow it to detect their preys. Two round black eyes can be clearly visible, or not, on the leading edge of the head, between the two cephalic lobes. The foot expands laterally and symmetrically in two long arch shaped parapodia, and with a color similar to the body, without white pigmentation, and partially covering the back of the animal. The base of the foot also has a similar color. The mantle has a thin white line on the posterior margin, with a long flagellum on the left side and a short one on the right side.

According to Marshall & Willan (1999) it prefers sandy areas with accumulations of algal debris from the low tide level down to depths of 20m. With nocturnal habits, is is found in protected areas as well as in exposed areas. In the Mediterranean it is rarely found, usually in rocky habitats with algal populations down to 12m deep. It probably feeds on polychaete or small acelomate flatworms it is supposed to absorb very quickly. The spawn is a cord forming small sized irregular clusters. The sticky cover of the eggs can capture detritus from the environment for reinforcement and camouflage. Hatching occurs after four days (under laboratory conditions).


  • Chelidonura. From Latin “chelidon”, swallow + from Greek “oura”, tail. Refers to the long left caudal lobe. Swallow tail.
  • Fulvipunctata. From Latin word “Fulvi”, yellow haired or blonde, also tawny, from brownish-orange to light brown color + “Punctata”, from French “ponctuée”, from Latin “punctatus”, dotted, with dots or spots. Yellow dotted.

Widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific, as it is present in Japan, Hawaii, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Marshall Islands, Reunion, Vanuatu, Mexico, South Africa and Mozambique. It is also present in the Mediterranean, where there are very few confirmed reports: Selimiye port, Antalya, Turkey as Chelidonura mediterranea (Swennen, 1961), Israel (Mienis and Gat, 1987), Malta (Perrone and Sammut, 1997), Cyprus ( Tsiakkiros and Zenetos, 2011), Italy (2015), France (Horst, 2015) and Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain (Karachle et al., 2016).

Known georeferenced records of the species: Chelidonura fulvipunctata (z-200).
: GROC 2010-2011 : VIMAR
: Enric Madrenas : Manuel Ballesteros.
: João Pedro Silva : M@re Nostrum
: Bernard Picton : Other sources
: GBIF.ORG : Marine Regions


        Western Mediterranean:1 Stars
        Eastern Mediterranean:1 Stars
        Atlantic Ocean:0 Stars
This chart displays the observation probability for Chelidonura fulvipunctata
based on our own records.

More pictures


Bibliography based on the works by Steve Long, 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000 and Gary McDonald, 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia, with later updates from other resources.

Further reading

Cite this article as:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas et al. (2012-2017) "Chelidonura fulvipunctata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 11/09/2014, Accessed: 17/10/2017 at (

In order to copy this cite or text fragments you must be a registered user.