Doris verrucosa

Doris verrucosa (Linnaeus, 1758)

Doris verrucosa 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: Euctenidiacea  Tardy, 1970
Infraorder: Doridacea  Thiele, 1931
Superfamily: Doridoidea  Rafinesque, 1815
Family: Dorididae  Rafinesque, 1815
Genus: Doris  Linnaeus, 1758
Species: Doris verrucosa  Linnaeus, 1758


  • Archidoris granosa Bergh, 1907
  • Doridigitata verrucosa (Linnaeus, 1758) 
  • Doris biscayensis P. Fischer, 1872
  • Doris derelicta P. Fischer, 1867
  • Staurodoris bobretzkii Gadzikiewicz, 1907
  • Staurodoris januari Bergh, 1878
  • Staurodoris januarii Bergh, 1878
  • Staurodoris verrucosa (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Staurodoris verrucosa var. mollis Eliot, 1906

The largest specimens of this species can reach up to 8 cm in length, but frequently specimens located under rocks in shallow water measure between 25 and 40 mm. The overall body color varies with specimens, from yellowish-green, brownish or different shades of gray and in lighter coloured animals often exist side two darker longitudinal bands ranging from the rhinophores down to the branchial plume. The most characteristic feature, honored by its specific name, are the tubercle shaped warts that are found all over the back. These warts are raised, more or less elongated deppending on the state of the animal and with rounded tips. Warts the center of the back are usually more developed, have their base slightly narrower and its size decreases as they are closest to the edge of the mantle. Dorsal warts have at their base a thin whitish striation possibly due to the presence of spicules in the mantle. The rhinophores share the same color of the body and their laminar portion has about 20 lamellae; the rhinophoric sheath is high and the upper edge has 4 tubers, two large and flattened in lateral position, one small in anterior position and one small in posterior position. The gill consists of 12 to 16 gill leaves coloured yellow-green located in a circle around the anus and having short lamellae on both sides of the central spine. The anal papilla has a cylindrical shape and is coloured yellowish. The branchial sheath is rather high and its upper edge is usually crowned by alternating large and small rounded papillae. The foot is broad and its colour is of a slightly lighter shade than the body. The mouth has two short and rounded labial palps.

This is an infralapidicole nudibranch species mainly living under stones in the intertidal zone and down to about 10-15 m deep. In this environment lives the sponge species it feeds on, Halicondria panicea, despite it has been cited feeding on the sponge Hymeniacidon sanguinea (Urgorri 1981; Avila et al. 1990). The rhinophores are very sensitive, retreating to the lesser disturbance. The spawn consists of a yellowish ribbon spirally wound of about 15 mm in diameter. D. verrucosa has defensive allomones called verrucosines (secondary metabolites of the group of the diacylglycerols and with ichthyotoxic action), that it apparently biosynthesizes de novo, without requiring the precursors from its sponge food (Avila et al., 1990).


  • Doris. In Greek mythology Doris was a sea nymph, one of the many children of Oceanus and Tethys, wife of Nereus and mother of the Nereids.
  • Verrucosa refers to the wart shaped dorsal tubercles covering the animal’s dorsum.

This is one of the oldest species of nudibranchs known, as it was described by Linnaeus in his 1758 edition of Systema Naturae. Since then it has been cited on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. In the Western Atlantic coast it has been found in Brazil, Costa Rica and other parts of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and North American coasts from Massachusetts to Florida. In the Eastern Atlantic it is cited in Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, European Atlantic coasts from the North Sea to the Iberian Peninsula, Ghana and West Coast of South Africa. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been cited in both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal areas. In the Catalan coast has been cited in Roses, Medes islands, L’Estartit, Blanes, Sitges, inside the Vallcarca harbour (Garraf) and Cubelles (where it is usually abundant under stones in 30 cm of water).

Known georeferenced records of the species: Doris verrucosa (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: Doris verrucosa

    Cantabria: Nordsieck (1972), Ortea (1977c), Fernández-Ovies (1981), Ávila Escartín (1993). Galicia: Urgorri and Besteiro (1983, 1984), Rolán (1983), Trigo and Otero (1987). Portugal: De Oliveira (1895, as Staurodoris), Hidalgo (1916, as Staurodoris), Nobre (1932, as Staurodoris), Saldanha (1974), García-Gómez et al. (1991). Andalucía (Atl.): Megina (unpubl. data). Gibraltar: García-Gómez (1982, 2002). Andalucía (Med.): Luque (1983, 1986), Hergueta and Salas (1987). Levante: Fez (1974, as Archidoris). Catalunya: Ros (1975, 1978b, 1985a,b), Ros & Altimira (1977), Ballesteros (1978, 1980, 1984, 1985), Altimira et al. (1981), Huelin & Ros (1984), Ávila, (1993), Giribet & Peñas (1997). Baleares: Ros (1985b). Canarias: Ortea, Pérez Sánchez and Llera (1982), Pérez Sánchez and Moreno (1990), Pérez Sánchez, Bacallado and Ortea (1991), Ortea et al (2001), Moro et al. (2003).

    General: Barletta, 1981:65; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi- Savelli, 1990:53[P]; Cuvier, 1804c:449, 467; 1817b:21; Eliot, 1910d:96; Gosliner, 1987b:62[P]; Marcus, 1955:127; Marcus, 1957:420; Marcus & Marcus, 1967b:201; Nordsieck, 1972:60; Perrier, 1954:97; Pruvot-Fol, 1951:7; 1954b:232; Schmekel, 1968b:169; Schmekel & Portmann, 1982:77[P]; Vicente, 1967:150; Brocchi, 1819:319; Cantraine, 1841:60; Franz, 1970a:80; Garstang, 1939:481; Ihering, 1907:218; 1915:142; Just & Edmunds, 1985:50[P]; Orr, 1980:114; 1981:52[P]; Ortea & Bacallado, 1981:771[P]; Perrone, 1983b:133; Pruvot-Fol, 1931a:749; Riedl, 1983:335; Thompson, 1988:224; Thompson & Brown, 1976:128; 1984:82[P]

    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 Doris verrucosa
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) "Doris verrucosa" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 16/05/2012, Accessed: 23/04/2017 at (

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