Armina maculata

Armina maculata (Rafinesque, 1814)

Armina maculata 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 and Morton, 1984
Parvorder: Euarminida Odhner, 1939
Superfamily: Arminoidea Iredale & O’Donoghue, 1923 (1841)
Family: Arminidae Iredale & O’Donoghue, 1923 (1841)
Genus: Armina Rafinesque, 1814
Species: Armina maculata Rafinesque, 1814


  • Diphyllidia ocellata Deshayes, 1838
  • Diphyllidia pustulosa Philippi, 1836
  • Diphyllidia verrucosa Cantraine, 1835

This is a large size species that can reach up to 120 mm in length. The body is long, tall and pointed in the tail end. The dorsal coloration and morphology is pretty characteristic, so it is unmistakable when compared with other species of the genus: it is coloured yellow-orange scattered with different sizes rounded white spots that correspond to flattened or pointed mantle elevations. The dorsum may also have small white or yellow pigmented tubercles. The rhinophores are whitish and very short and they are joined at the base, protruding from a small invagination of the anterior central mantle zone; the distal portion of the rhinophores has 13 to 15 vertical lamellae, some bifurcated or even trifurcated. Below the mantle on the sides of the body there is a number of lamellae that, among other traits, define the genus Armina: there are whitish, longitudinally arranged lamellae located in the anterior zone, possibly with a respiratory role. The other yellowish lamellae, far more numerous, as they cover 2/3 of the underside of the mantle, are obliquely aligned relative to the axis of the body and are yellowish. On the right side of the body, the genital opening is located right behind the group of respiratory lamellae while the anal opening is further to the tail, in the middle of the oblique lamellae. The foot is creamy coloured and has a characteristic cephalic shield adapted to allow the animal to bury itself in the substrate. Between the head shield and the rest of the foot there is a buccal bulb that can be partially evaginated to capture food. In the tail end of the foot there is a shallow white elongated groove corresponding to the pedial glandula.

This species lives on sand or mud soft bottoms with abundant gorgonians (Eunicella verrucosa), tunicates (Microcosmus sulcatus), Alcyonacea (Alcyonium palmatum) and pennatulaceans. In these bottoms this arminiacean can bury itself with the aid of its peculiar head shield. It has nocturnal habits, roaming at night over the sediment in search of its favourite food, which usually is the pennatulacean Veretillum cinomorium and burying itself during the day for protection against predators.


  • Armina. Girl’s first name of Old German origin, meaning “soldier” or “warrior”.
  • Maculata, from Latin “maculatus” = stained or spotted

Armina maculata is an eminently Mediterranean species that has also been cited in the neighbour coasts, like the Atlantic coasts of Portugal, Madeira, Morocco and also in Angola. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been located in Portugal, in the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Andalusia and the Strait of Gibraltar, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. It is a relatively common species among the “bycatch” of commercial trawlers operating in the fishing grounds of the Catalan coast, such as those close to Blanes, near the city of Barcelona and off the coast of Garraf, at depths between 70 and 150m.

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

References for the species: Armina maculata

    Portugal: De Oliveira (1895), Hidalgo (1916), Nobre (1938-40). All records as Pleurophyllidia pustulosa. Andalucía (Atl.): Cervera (unpubl. data). Gibraltar: García-Gómez (1982), García and García-Gómez (1988, 1990a,c). Andalucía (Med.): Luque (1983, 1986), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a). Catalunya: Ballesteros (1980, 1981, 1983, 1985), Altaba & Traveset (1985), Ávila (1993), Domènech et al. (2006). Baleares: Altaba and Traveset (1993), Ávila Escartín (1993). Madeira: Wirtz (unpubl. data).

    General: Marcus & Marcus, 1966:192; Nordsieck, 1972:70; Pruvot-Fol, 1927:76; 1937:64; 1954b:342; Riedl, 1983:324; Schmekel & Portmann, 1982:173; Thompson, Cattaneo & Wong, 1990:400

    Sources: Cervera et al., 2004, Ballesteros, 2007, McDonald, 2006 and other sources.


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

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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes et al. (2012-2017) "Armina maculata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 28/08/2012, Accessed: 24/11/2017 at (

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