Tenellia albopunctata

Tenellia albopunctata (Schmekel, 1968)

Tenellia albopunctata by Manuel Ballesteros
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: Fionoidea Gray, 1857
Family: Fionidae Gray, 1857
Genus: Tenellia A. Costa, 1866
Species: Tenellia albopunctata (Schmekel, 1968) 

Taxonomic note: The phylogenetic analyses performed by Cella et al. (2016) revealed that the traditional Tergipedidae family is polyphyletic and belongs to a larger monophyletic clade including members of the traditional families Eubranchidae, Fionidae and Calmidae; this was an unexpected result, since the validity of these taxa and their distinctness from the Tergipedidae was never questioned before. They proposed to join the families Tergipedidae, Eubranchidae, Calmidae and Fionidae under the name of Fionidae. Within Fionidae, obtained results demonstrated the need of developing a new classification as previous classifications (for instance, separating Catriona, Cuthona and Trinchesia as distinct taxa) were inconsistent with the resulting phylogeny. Analyses also recover a clade (Tenellia) that includes all members of the genera Tenellia, Trinchesia, Phestilla, Catriona and the majority of described and undescribed Cuthona species. New genera Rubramoena, Abronica and Tergiposacca are proposed to group other species. This molecular study also suggests that Fionidae is rich in cryptic species complexes, difficult to separate by traditional taxonomic characters, and previously undetected species diversity.

Korshunova et al. (2017) present some phylogenies based on morphological characters (which may be parological) to reclassify this group. In addition, for molecular phylogeny they use the COI gene (not useful to separate genera) instead of i.e. the H3 gene, so the hypotheses presented are weak. For this reason we keep the last classification until the status of this species is cleared.


  • Trinchesia albopunctata Schmekel, 1968
  • Cuthona albopunctata (Schmekel, 1968)

Specimens of this species do not usually measure more than 5 mm in length. The body color is whitish, semi-transparent in the areas where there are no white spots or marks. These white spots can be found on the head, back, flanks and the cerata. White scores could show the same pattern. In the original description of the species (Schmekel 1968) the existence of small and fuzzy orange scores on the head and the back is stated. The oral tentacles are relatively short, the rhinophores are smooth; both are semi-transparent and have diffuse white spots except in its middle area where they have a band where no staining. The eyes are clearly visible in the rear base of each rhinophore, in a white-pigmented area. There are 6-7 cerata rows on each side of the body, but only the first 3 rows appear to form distinctly and separately from the other group. The cerata are slender, relatively short and rounded end. Inside the digestive gland it is coloured brown or reddish, the surface of the cerata have white scores or blotches, the apex is white or semitransparent. The foot is also semi-transparent and rounded in front, the tail is narrow and may have small white spots.

There is very little evidence of the presence of this species and therefore its biology. The few collected specimens have been observed among hydrarians growing in algae. Only Schmekel (1968) reported that the spawn is reniform or rolled in a semicircle with pink eggs of 100 micron diameter.


  • Albopunctata. From “Alba”, white in Latin + “punctata”, from French “ponctuée”, from Latin “punctatus”, punctuated, pointed.

The species was only known from its type locality, the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples and the Catalan coast, where Ros (1975) collected 5 specimens (as Trinchesia cf. albopuncta) in Estartit and Blanes, Enric Madrenas observed one specimen at L’Escala (2011) and another at Palamós (2014), and Miquel Pontes found another one at the Medes Islands (2012).

Known georeferenced records of the species: Tenellia albopunctata (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:0 Stars
        Atlantic Ocean:0 Stars
This chart displays the observation probability for Tenellia albopunctata
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:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes et al. (2012-2017) "Tenellia albopunctata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 18/09/2012, Accessed: 17/10/2017 at (http://opistobranquis.info/en/ApS0p)

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