Ercolania coerulea (Trinchese, 1892)
Ercolania caerulea @ Porto Cesareo (Lecce), Northern Ionian Sea by Fabio VitaleTaxonomy
Class: Gastropoda Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura Spengel, 1881
Clade: Panpulmonata Jörger et al., 2010
Clade: Sacoglossa von Ihering, 1876
Superfamily: Limapontioidea J.E. Gray, 1847
Family: Limapontiidae J.E. Gray, 1847
Genus: Ercolania Trinchese, 1872
Species: Ercolania coerulea Trinchese, 1892
- Ercolania costai Pruvot-Fol, 1951
- Stiliger cricetus Er. Marcus & Ev. Marcus, 1970
The average size of this species is about 14 mm but, generally, the specimens found are smaller. The overall body color is whitish or yellowish and the digestive gland, seen by transparency, is olive-green. This gland extends under all of the dorsal surface and the inside of the cerata, giving the animal an olive appearance. An opaque white pigment appears in the apex of the rhinophores and the pericardium. There are often numerous opaque white spots on the dorsum of the cerata that at the apex form two diverging white lines, like letter “V”. The apex of the cerata is bright blue, detail that gives its name to this species. The rhinophores are elongated and smooth, greenish-white in the base and at its end. The back is covered with a large number of cerata on both sides of the animal that remain tight together; cerata shape differs from fusiform with a pointed apex, to inflated with a rounded apex, depending on the movement state of the animal. The anal papilla is elongated and it is positioned on the pericardium. The genital openings are located just behind the right rinophore. The tail is pointed.
Ercolania coerulea is usually found on the cladophoral algae Vallonia utricularis that, according to various authors, it feeds. on. Its small size, globe shaped cerata and color makes the animal almost unnoticeable on the algae. The spawn of this species is a flattened round cord with very small white eggs, about 60-70 microns in diameter. The depth distribution ranges from the intertidal zone to a depth of 20 meters.
- Ercolania. Probably dedicated to Giovanni Batista Ercolani, Italian physicyst and founder of the veterinary sciences in his country.
- Coerulea. From Latin “caeruleus”, of blue color.
This species of sacoglosan was originally cited in the Mediterranean (Gulf of Naples) and has been quoted all around the western Mediterranean and the Adriatic, in the Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores, in the western Atlantic (Florida and West Indies), off the coast of Tanzania (Indian Ocean), and there are quotes from Hong Kong and Japan that require confirmation. In the Iberian Peninsula is mentioned only in the east coast. In the Catalan coast it has been observed rarely in the Costa Brava.
|: OBIS||: OPK|
|: 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: Ercolania coerulea
Levante: Templado (1982b, 1983, 1984), Marín and Ros (1988). Catalunya: Ballesteros (datos no publicados) [Punta de La Creu de Roses], M@re Nostrum [Cala Aiguafreda 4/2005]. Canarias: Wirtz and Debelius (2003). Madeira: Wirtz (1995a). Azores: Wirtz and Debelius (2003).
Sources: Cervera et al., 2004, Ballesteros, 2007, McDonald, 2006 and other sources.
This chart displays the observation probability for Ercolania coerulea
based on our own records.
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.