Platydoris argo

Platydoris argo (Linné, 1767)

Platydoris argo 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: Doridoidea  Rafinesque, 1815
Family: Discodorididae  Bergh, 1891
Genus: Platydoris  Bergh, 1877
Species: Platydoris argo (Linnaeus, 1767) [Doris]


  • Doris argo Linnaeus, 1767 (original)
  • Doris canariensis d’Orbigny, 1839
  • Doris infravalvata Abraham, 1877
  • Doris subtumida Abraham, 1877 
  • Platydoris dura Pruvot-Fol, 1951
  • Platydoris philippi Bergh, 1877

The largest specimens of this species can reach about 10 cm in length. The body is very flat (the genus name refers to this trait) and of leathery consistence. The color of the back is a nearly uniform reddish brown and can have many small white scores scattered around the mantle, forming roughly defined spots and sometimes drawing two or three spots on each side of the back. The dorsum is very broad and covers completely the foot, having a somewhat scalloped edge. Under binocular lens it can be seen that the entire back is covered with small conical protuberances and spicules. The rhinophores are somewhat darker than the back, have 15-20 lamellae and can be fully retracted into the body; the rhinophoric sheath is slightly elevated. The gill consists of six tripinnate type gill leaves and is darker than the back due to presence of small brown spots, the tips of the gill leaves is usually white because they are spotted with this color. Gill can fully retract into the body and then the 6 lobed gill hole can be seen, arranged transversally to the body. Ventral mantle is yellowish and has numerous smaller brown spots located externally and the larger ones corresponding to those found near the foot. This is orange and quite narrow, having its leading edge creased and furrowed. Foot sidewalls also have brown spots. The mouth is flanked by a pair of short digitiform oral palps.

This large doridacean species can be located under rocks or in rock walls with an abundance of seaweeds, sponges and bryozoans from a few meters deep. Some specimens can be caught deeper in commercial trawl fisheries among the bycatch. Because of their color, many individuals, especially those living in rocky walls are perfectly cryptic with the substrate and difficult to spot. They can feed on sponges such as Crambe crambe, on or around which they can be seen while diving, although it could also eat bryozoans of the genus Sertella in coraligenous bottoms. Some authors erroneously cite it feeds on algae. The spawn consists of a yellow strip about 10 mm high, scalloped and rolled into a several turns spiral that can be 3-4 cm in diameter.


  • Platýs. Greek word meaning “broad”.
  • Doris. Marine nymph of the Greek mythology.
  • Argo . This specific name refers to the white spots of this species, which are compared with eyes. A mythological legend explains that Argos was a prince of Argos or Argolis. He had a hundred eyes of which he always had fifty opened.

This species has been known for almost three centuries as it was described by Linnaeus with the genus Doris in 1767. Since then it seems to have a fairly limited geographical distribution, as far as it is known, limited to the Mediterranean Sea (both eastern and western basins), Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Madeira, Azores and the Iberian Peninsula, where it is quoted without interruption from the Portuguese to the Catalan shores. Also present in the Balearic islands. In Catalonia it has been cited in Cala Sant Antoni and Es Caials (Cadaques), L’Escala, Illes Medes (L’Estartit), Begur, Palamos, Tossa de Mar, Cala Sant Francesc (Blanes) and in the port of Tarragona, among other locations.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Platydoris argo (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: Platydoris argo

    Portugal: De Oliveira (1895), Hidalgo (1916), Nobre (1932), García-Gómez et al. (1991), Calado et al. (1999). Andalucía (Atl.): Templado et al. (1993b). Gibraltar: Ros (1975), García-Gómez (1983), García, García-Gómez and Cervera (1988), García, García-Gómez and Medel-Soteras (1988), García and García-Gómez (1989, 1990b), García-Gómez et al. (1989), Megina (2000), Megina et al. (2002). Andalucía (Med.): Luque (1983, 1986), Ballesteros et al. (1986), Schick (1998), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a), Ocaña et al. (2000), Valdés and Ortea (2001), Peñas et al. (in press). Levante: Templado (1982b), Ballesteros (1985), Ballesteros et al. (1986), Marín and Ros (1987), Dorgan, Valdés and Gosliner (2002), Templado et al. (2002). Catalunya: Ros (1975, 1978, 1985b), Ballesteros (1980, 1985), Altimira et al. (1981), Huelin & Ros (1984), Ávila (1993), Domènech et al. (2002), Ballesteros (datos no publicados) [numerosas localidades de la Costa Brava], M@re Nostrum [Illa Pedrosa (L'Estartit) 7/1999, Mar Menuda (Tossa de Mar) 11/1998]. Baleares: Ros (1981b, 1985b), Templado (1982a), Ros and Gili (1985). Canarias: D’Orbigny (1839, as Doris canariensis), Bergh (1877, 1892), Odhner (1931, as Argus argo), Nordsieck (1972), Altimira and Ros (1979, as P. cf. argo cf. canariensis), Ortea and Bacallado (1981), Ortea, Pérez Sánchez and Llera (1982), Pérez-Sánchez and Moreno (1990), Pérez Sánchez, Bacallado and Ortea (1991), Malaquias and Calado (1997), Ortea et al. (2001), Valdés and Gosliner (2001), Dorgan, Valdés and Gosliner (2002), Moro et al. (2003), Wirtz and Debelius (2003). Madeira: Wirtz (1994, 1999), Valdés and Gosliner (2001), Malaquias et al. (2001), Dorgan, Valdés and Gosliner (2002). Azores: Bergh (1899), Wirtz and Martins (1993), Wirtz (1994, 1998), Ávila et al. (1998), Ávila (2000), Malaquias (2001), Wirtz and Debelius (2003).

    General: Barletta, 1981:73; Bergh, 1877b:497; 1884:678; 1899:15; 1905a:135; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi- Savelli, 1990:97[P]; Cesari, 1990:[P]; Fez Sanchez, 1974:112; Nobre, 1931:42; 1936:29; 1938-40:53; Nordsieck, 1972:63; Ortea, Perez, & Llera, 1981:22; Perrone, 1986a:28; Pruvot-Fol, 1954b:248; Risbec, 1956:6; 1956a:6; Schmekel & Portmann, 1982:90[P]; Vayssiere, 1913a:326; 1919:69

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


        Western Mediterranean:3 Stars
        Eastern Mediterranean:0.0 Stars
        Atlantic Ocean:0.0 Stars
This chart displays the observation probability for Platydoris argo
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) "Platydoris argo" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 16/05/2012, Accessed: 28/03/2017 at (

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