Aeolidia filomenae

Aeolidia filomenae  Kienberger, Carmona, Pola, Padula, Gosliner & Cervera, 2016

Aeolidia filomenae @ Baleal, Portugal 15-08-2014 by João Pedro Silva

Class: Gastropoda Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura Spengel, 1881
Clade: Nudipleura Wägele & Willan, 2000
Order: Nudibranchia Cuvier, 1817
Suborder: Dexiarchia Schrödl, Wägele & Willan, 2001
Infraorder: Cladobranchia Willan & Morton, 1984
Parvorder: Aeolidida Odhner, 1934
Superfamily: Aeolidioidea J.E. Gray, 1827
Family: Aeolidiidae J.E. Gray, 1827
Genus: Aeolidia Cuvier, 1797
Species: Aeolidia filomenae  Kienberger, Carmona, Pola, Padula, Gosliner & Cervera, 2016

The body is broad and relatively low, with the rear side of the foot tapered. The anterior side of the foot has tentaculiform corners. The body colour is variable, ranging from white, light beige, salmon to greenish. White or light brown spots are scattered all over the body. There could be a white “Y” shaped mark running from the oral tentacles, between the rhinophores down to the cardiac area, but the colour of this mark can be light brown and barely noticeable, and there could be white or beige spots covering it. The rhinophores are conical, blunt, and smooth and they are translucent with white or beige spots. The eyes are visible at the base of the rhinophores in lighter coloured specimens. The oral tentacles are long, translucent, with opaque white or beige spots like the rest of the body. Tips of tentacles are usually transparent but in some specimens they could be white. The cerata are flattened, broader at their base, and curved inwards. Those at the anterior and posterior sides of the body are smaller than those in the middle of the body. Between the rhinophores and the cardiac zone there are no cerata. The cerata have a lighter coloration than the rest of the body and have white tips. They are arranged in 16 oblique rows of up to 8 cerata each. The white–beige digestive gland is visible throughout the body by transparency. The anus is located between the ninth and tenth row of cerata on the right side. The gonopore is located between the fourth and fifth rows of cerata. Anatomically it is very similar to A. papillosa, but there are a few differences: The cerata of A. filomenae are more flattened, slightly hook shaped, and usually show a paler coloration than the rest of the body, whereas the cerata in A. papillosa are usually darker and more slender.

Like the species Aeolidia papillosa, that it has traditionally been confused with, it feeds on sea anemones. Before attacking its prey, it fully extends its sensory tentacles and secretes abundant mucus to protect itself against the stinging filaments projected by the anemone when it feels in danger. The spawn consists of a string of a few millimeters in diameter with small capsules containing white eggs (occasionally pink) arranged in a spiral. The planktonic larvae disperse after hatching. The type specimen was found under seaweed of the genus Laminaria at a depth of 6 m.


  • Aeolidia from Aeolis, the Greek god of the Wind.
  • Filomenae, dedicated to Matilde Filomena López González, born in Galicia (Spain), grandmother of Marta Pola, one of the authors who described this species.

It is found on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula and on the Atlantic coast of France. Specimens have also been found in the Netherlands and around the British Isles. The study of the species reveals that the specimens from several localities from the Atlantic coast of Europe, previously attributed to A. papillosa (Carmona et al., 2013), belong to a different species. The accepted variability in the colour pattern of the former species masked the existence of a second and pseudocryptic European species of this genus.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Aeolidia filomenae
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions


    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:
This chart displays the observation probability for Aeolidia filomenae based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas et al. (2012-2017) "Aeolidia filomenae" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 15/06/2016, Accessed: 23/11/2017 at (

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