Dendrodoris grandiflora

Dendrodoris grandiflora (Rapp, 1827)

Dendrodoris grandiflora by Enric Madrenas
Class: Gastropoda  Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia  J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura  Spengel, 1881
Clade: Nudipleura  Wägele & Willan, 2000
Order: Nudibranchia  Cuvier, 1817
Suborder: Euctenidiacea  Tardy, 1970
Infraorder: Doridacea  Thiele, 1931
Superfamily: Phyllidioidea  Rafinesque, 1814
Family: Dendrodorididae  O’Donoghue, 1924
Genus: Dendrodoris  Ehrenberg, 1831
Species: Dendrodoris grandiflora (von Rapp, 1827) [Doris]


  • Dendrodoris kessneri Tejedo, 1994
  • Dendrodoris longula Pruvot-Fol, 1951 
  • Dendrodoris pseudorubra Pruvot-Fol, 1951 
  • Dendrodoris temarana Pruvot-Fol, 1953
  • Doris grandiflora Rapp, 1827 (original)
  • Doris guttata Risso, 1826

This is a large species whose specimens can reach over 10 cm in length and are characterized by a very flat body with very wide, wavy margins with dark radial grooves all around the body. Body coloration is highly variable, there are records of brown, red, gray, greenish or almost black (melanic) animals. Almost always there are numerous irregular spots (both in shape and size) on the back, darker than the background color of the body. The dorsal coat is soft and devoid of spicules. The rhinophores are retractable and have the same color as the rest of the body except the apex which is white; they are well developed and have a wide basal area without lamella and with a color somewhat lighter than the rest of rhinophore. The laminar zone of the rhinophores has very tight 20-30 lamellae and decreases in thickness towards the apex. The rhinophoric orifice is circular, with a smooth edge and lacks a high sheath. The buccal bulb of this species, as in other species of the genus, lacks both jaws and radula. The retractile gill consists of 6-7 well developed tripinnate branchial leaves, arranged in a circle around the anus, and of the same color of the body except the apex, which is whitish. Anal papilla is well formed, barrel-shaped and with a slightly lobed upper edge. The foot is very large and usually without spots. The oral zone lacks palps.

This large species of doridacean is usually found under stones, from very shallow water down to circalittoral area. In some locations (as in Cubelles, South coast of Barcelona) it can be locally abundant especially at the time of reproduction. It is commonly found on sponges (Crambe, Microciona, Ircinia fasciculata, Spongia officinalis) but it is not clear whether it really eats the sponge tissues or the microorganisms film growing on the sponges, as it feeds by suction using its oral bulb. The spawns are laid in the form of an 8mm wide, ivory coloured ribbon, wound into an spiral of several turns that can reach 5 cm of total diameter. There are usually 60-70 eggs across the width of the ribbon, arranged in two superposed layers. The eggs have a diameter of about 80 microns and are enclosed in somewhat larger capsules, of about 140 microns. The spawns can be found, also under stones, from May to September.


  • Dendrodoris, from Greek word dendros (tree) and Doris, a sea nymph in Greek mythology.
  • Grandiflora, in botany, any plant characterized by large showy flowers, as certain kinds of petunias or roses. Here it probably refers to the animal’s big gill resembling a big flower when extended.

So far, this species seems to have a Mediterranean distribution which also includes the nearby Atlantic (Iberian Peninsula, Madeira Islands, coasts of the Sahara and Mauritania). In the Iberian Peninsula it has been collected in all its shores but in the Northern ones: the Cantabrian Sea and Galicia. In the Mediterranean it has been cited both in the Eastern basin (Turkey, Israel) and the Western basin (Spain, France, Italy), also in the Balearic islands. In the Catalan coast is a fairly common species in different localities of the Costa Brava (Port de la Selva, Cadaqués, illes Formigues, Blanes), also in the coast of Barcelona, Llavaneres in the North or Cubelles in the South. Also in the coast of Tarragona (Salou).

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

References for the species: Dendrodoris grandiflora

    Portugal: De Oliveira (1895, as Doriopsis), Nobre (1932, as Doriopsis), García-Gómez et al. (1991), Valdes, Ortea, Avila, & Ballesteros, 1996:9[P], Calado et al. (1999), Muzavor and Morenito (1999), Malaquias and Morenito (2000), Wirtz and Debelius (2003). Andalucía (Atl.): García-Gómez (1982), Cervera (1988, unpubl. data). Gibraltar: García-Gómez (1983), García-Gómez et al. (1989), Valdés et al. (1996). Andalucía (Med.): Luque (1983, 1986), Ocaña et al. (2000), Valdés et al. (1996). Levante: Templado (1982b, 1983, 1984), Marín and Ros (1987), Valdés et al. (1996). Catalunya: Ros (1975), Ballesteros (1980, 1985), Pereira (1980), Altimira et al. (1981), Huelin & Ros (1984), Martín et al. (1990), Ávila (1993), Valdés et al. (1996), Giribet & Peñas (1997), Domènech et al. (2002, 2006), M@re Nostrum [Es Caials 4/2001]. Baleares: Ballesteros (1981a, 1985), Ros (1985b), Ros and Gili (1985), Ballesteros, Álvarez and Mateo (1986), Valdés et al. (1996). Canarias: Pérez-Sánchez and Moreno (1990, as D. limbata), Pérez Sánchez, Bacallado and Ortea (1991, as D. limbata), Valdés et al. (1996), Ortea et al. (2001), Moro et al. (2003), Wirtz and Debelius (2003). Madeira: Malaquias (unpubl. data).

    General: Barletta, 1981:77[P]; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi-Savelli, 1990:119[P]; Nordsieck, 1972:65; O'Donoghue, 1929:771; Ortea & Valdes, 1994:7; Pruvot-Fol, 1954b:332; Riedl, 1983:337; Schmekel, 1970:203; Schmekel & Portmann, 1982:136[P]; Swennen, 1961a:66;

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


        Western Mediterranean:2 Stars
        Eastern Mediterranean:0.0 Stars
        Atlantic Ocean:0.0 Stars
This chart displays the observation probability for Dendrodoris grandiflora
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) "Dendrodoris grandiflora" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 16/05/2012, Accessed: 29/03/2017 at (

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