Hermaea cantabra Caballer & Ortea, 2015
Hermaea cantabra @ Isla de la Torre, Santander, Cantabria, Spain 22-01-2004 by Manuel CaballerTaxonomy
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: Hermaeidae H. Adams & A. Adams, 1854
Genus: Hermaea Lovén, 1844
Species: Hermaea cantabra Caballer & Ortea, 2015
Prior to the description of H. cantabra, any Hermaeidae with reddish pigmentation in the digestive tract and auriculated rhinophores, captured in European waters, was automatically determined as Hermaea bifida (Montagu, 1815). However, a more detailed study of specimens captured in northern Spain (Caballer, 2007) showed that these animals had characters that could not be attributed to H. bifida in any way, such as having a typical and complex pattern of red bands in the epidermis, digestive ramifications in the cerata not bifurcated at the distal end and radular teeth shaped like an stylet, without lateral expansions.
The different specimens found measure between 4 and 5 mm in length, with a maximum size of 9 mm so far. The body is narrow and elongated. The body is hyaline white, translucent, the reddish brown or light brown digestive gland visible through the tegument. The auriculate rhinophores have a more or less rounded upper lobe, larger than the lower lobe, they are of the same color as the body and have whitish granules in their distal area and at the base. There is a fine reddish brown line in the posterior area of the rhinophores that begins in the distal third of them, runs through its base and goes backwards, passing between the eyes, where it disappears. The eyes are located slightly behind the base of the rhinophores. On the back, the cardiac area has a white triangular area, formed by the accumulation of granules of this color, with reddish brown surface spots at the edges, that are also scattered throughout the dorsum down to the tail. Laterally there is a thin reddish brown band that runs from the head to the middle of the body, with a branch that runs through the rhinophore; this band sometimes joins the area of the head with a thin line that runs along the entire edge of the foot. All the back and sides of the body, also the tail, are covered with red or brown spots of different shapes and sizes. On the back the digestive gland forms two parallel longitudinal reddish brown cords with an irregular path, exceptionally joined in the tail but never in the front end. From these longitudinal cords grow the branches that enter each of the cerata; within these, the digestive branch has a central axis from which simple expansions grow in right or oblique angles. There are 8-9 cerata on each side of the body, translucent and of very different sizes, usually with scattered whitish granules. The more developed cerata are wider in their distal third and narrow at the base, there are also ovoid shaped cerata; there are undefined shape tubercles on the surface of the cerata. The anus is in dorsal position and located right ahead of the cardiac area. The genital orifice is lateral and placed between the base of the rhinophore and the first right cerata. The foot is slightly bilobed.
So far, this species has only been captured from the intertidal to 15 m depth, living on red algae epibiont of Codium tomentosum or on algae of the genus Ceramium (Caballer & Ortea, 2015). This species is generally captured together with its sibling Hermaea paucicirra. The spawn of this species has been described and drawn by Ortea (1977a, as H. bifida) as a white spiral of 2.5 mm in diameter and one and a half turns, containing about 500 eggs.
- Hermaea. Derived from Hermes, character in Greek mythology.
- Cantabra. To honor Cantabria, the region where the type locality is, and their inhabitants.
So far, the distribution of this species ranges from the coasts of Asturias, Spain and Cantabria, Spain (Ortea, 1977 a & b; Caballer, 2007; Caballer & Ortea, 2015) to Arcachon Bay in southern France (Salvat, 1968, Ortea, 1977 a & b; Caballer, 2007; Caballer & Ortea, 2015). It is possible that the specimens reported by Salvat (1968) as H. bifida living on Codium fragile are actually individuals of H. cantabra.
|: OBIS||: OPK|
|: GROC 2010-2011||: VIMAR|
|: Enric Madrenas||: Manuel Ballesteros.|
|: João Pedro Silva||: M@re Nostrum|
|: Bernard Picton||: Other sources|
|: GBIF.ORG||: Marine Regions|
This chart displays the observation probability for Hermaea cantabra
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.