Retusa truncatula

Retusa truncatula (Bruguière, 1792)

Retusa truncatula @ Croatia by Pero Ugarković




































Retusa truncatula  (Bruguière, 1792)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 141138).

  • Bulla mammillata Philippi, 1836
  • Bulla pellucida Brown, 1827
  • Bulla retusa Maton & Rackett, 1807
  • Bulla semisulcata Philippi, 1836
  • Bulla truncata Adams J., 1800
  • Bulla truncatula Bruguière, 1792 (original)
  • Coleophysis effusa Monterosato, 1890
  • Cylichna mammillata Forbes & Hanley, 1850
  • Cylichna truncata Forbes & Hanley, 1850
  • Cylichna truncatella Locard, 1886
  • Retusa (Coleophysis) piriformis Nordsieck, 1972
  • Retusa carinensis de Gregorio, 1889
  • Retusa dilatata Pallary, 1904
  • Retusa dilatata var. minor Pallary, 1904
  • Retusa mamillata Pruvot-Fol, 1954
  • Retusa piriformis Nordsieck, 1972
  • Retusa retusa Winckworth, 1932
  • Retusa semisulcata (Philippi, 1836)
  • Tornatina mammillata Massy, 1930
  • Tornatina truncatula Massy, 1930
  • Utriculus mammillatus Jeffreys, 1867
  • Utriculus truncatulus Jeffreys, 1867

The base colour of the body is white, and has a head shield indented anteriorly that forms two lobes directed backwards with no middle line. There are two pointed cephalic tentacles. There are no lateral extensions of the foot (parapodial lobes) nor an extension of the mantle under the snail (pallial lobe). Internal organs are not visible trough the shell. The eyes are visible. It has no radula. The foot is elongate, with rounded corners and indented anteriorly. The shell is small (up to 5mm), glossy, coloured white, translucent white or yellowish, with longitudinal striations. It is relatively thick, external, and usually with an elongate cylindrical shape. The opening is narrow, but extends for the length of the shell, and usually beyond its top. The top of the shell (apex) is sunken; in some specimens the apex may be truncated (shortened) or slightly extended out of the shell (mamillate). The shells are mostly umbilicated and have a pattern of prominent growth lines; however spiral grooves can be found in mamillate specimens. It has no operculum.

It lives buried in sand, muddy sand and on gravel from the intertidal zone down to depths of 300 m (Thompson, 1988; Høisæter, 2009). It feeds on small molluscs like Peringia ulvae, perhaps also on foraminiferans and small lamellibranchs.


  • Retusa. From Latin “retusus”, blunt.
  • Truncatula. From Latin, means truncated.

Quite common in the European fossile record, living specimens occur along the entire Norwegian coast, the British Isles, France and Spain Atlantic shores and to the Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores. Present across the Mediterranean Sea (Thompson, 1988; Brattegard & Holthe, 2001; Høisæter 2009) and the Black Sea. In Spain it is present in all the coasts, both Atlantic and Mediterranean. In Catalonia it is present in the fossile record at Ciurana, and living specimens have been found at Tossa de Mar, at Garraf and in the coasts of Tarragona. Because of its small size and living habits (it lives buried in sand) it has been commonly overlooked.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Retusa truncatula
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions

References for the species: Retusa truncatula

    Baleares: Nordsieck (1978). Cantabria: Hidalgo (1917), Ortea (1975-76), Ortea (1977c), Flor et al. (1981), Flor, Llera and Ortea (1982), Borja (1987, as Cylichna semisulcata and R. truncatella). Galicia: Hidalgo (1917), Cadée (1968, as R. truncata), Rolán (1983, as R. semisulcata and R. truncatella), Urgorri and Besteiro (1983), Trigo and Otero (1987), Troncoso et al. (1988). Portugal: Hidalgo (1917), Nobre (1936), Nordsieck (1972), Saldanha (1974, as Acteocina truncatula), Burnay (1986), García-Gómez et al. (1991), Machado and Fonseca (1997, as R. cf. truncatella), Macedo, Macedo and Borges (1999). Andalucía (Atl.): Hidalgo (1917), Sánchez-Moyano et al. (2000, as R. truncatella). Gibraltar: Hidalgo (1917), Aartsen, Menkhorst and Gittenberger (1984), Rueda, Salas and Gofas (2000). Andalucía (Med.): Luque (1983, as R. semisulcata), Ballesteros et al. (1986), Salas and Hergueta (1986), Peñas et al. (in press). Levante: Hidalgo (1917, as R. semisulcata), Olmo and Ros (1984), Rubio and Ros (1984), Templado, Talavera and Murillo (1997), Templado et al. (2002), García Raso et al. (1992). Catalunya: De Sama (1916), Hidalgo (1917, citada como R. truncatella), Altimira (1975, 1976, citada como R. truncatella). Baleares: Hidalgo (1917, as R. semisulcata), Altimira (1972, also as R. semisulcata), Nordsieck (1972, as R. semisulcata and R. truncatella), Schröder (1978, as R. semisulcata), Luque and Templado (1981, as R. semisulcata), Ballesteros, Álvarez and Mateo (1986, also as R. semisulcata), Altaba (1993). Canarias: Nordsieck (1972), Nordsieck and García-Talavera (1979), Malaquias and Calado (1997), Malaquias (2000), Ortea et al. (2001, 2003), Moro et al. (2003). Madeira: Watson (1897, as Utriculus truncatulus), Nobre (1937, as Tornatina truncatula), Nordsieck (1972, as R. mariae), Nordsieck and García-Talavera (1979, as R. mariae), Malaquias et al. (2001). Azores: Dautzenberg (1889, both as Tornatina truncatula and Tornatina mariei n. sp.), Nordsieck (1972 as Retusa (Coleophysis) mariei), Nordsieck and García-Talavera (1979 as Retusa mariae), Mikkelsen (1995), Morton et al. (1998), Ávila et al. (1998), Ávila (2000), Malaquias (2001).

    Sources: Cervera et al., 2004, Ballesteros, 2007 & 2016, McDonald, 2006 and other sources.


    Western Mediterranean:2 out of 5 stars
    Eastern Mediterranean:2 out of 5 stars
    Atlantic Ocean:2 out of 5 stars

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Retusa truncatula based on our own records.

More pictures


    Aartsen, J. J. v., H. P. M. G. Menkhorst, and E. Gittenberger. 1984. The marine Mollusca of the Bay of Algeciras, Spain, with general notes on Mitrella, Marginellidae and Turridae. Basteria supplement 2: 1-135.
    Altimira, C. 1976. Moluscos testáceos recolectados en el litoral sur de Tarragona (delta del Ebro) (Mediterráneo occidental español). Investigación Pesquera 40: 581-595.
    Altimira, C. 1975. Moluscos testáceos recolectados en el litoral de la parte norte de la provincia de Gerona (Mediterráneo occidental español). Investigación Pesquera 39: 63-78.
    Bacallado, J. J., J. Ortea, L. Moro, F. J. Martín Barrios, T. Cruz Simó, and R. Mesa Hernández. 2008. Inventario de los moluscos de la marina de Arrecife, Lanzarote. Canarias Conservación. 1–32.
    Ballesteros, M. 2007. Lista actualizada de los opistobranquios (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira. 2: 163–188.
    Ballesteros, M., C. Álvarez, and B. Mateo. 1986. Aproximación a la fauna de opistobranquios de la isla de Menorca. Publicaciones del Departamento de Zoología (Barcelona) 12: 93-106.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2021. OPK - Opistobranquis. (
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2016. Actualización del catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira 6(2016): 1-28.
    Bruguière, J. G. 1789. Encyclopdie méthodique ou par ordre de matières. Histoire naturelle des vers. Pancoucke, Paris. Vol. 1, part 1, p. 1-344 [june 1789]; Vol. 1, part 2, p. 345-758 [13 Feb. 1792; dates after N. EVENHUIS, 2003, Zootaxa, 166: 37; Zootaxa, 207]; Atlas pl. 1-189 [1791]; pl. 190-286 [1797] pl. 287-390 [1798] pl. 391-488 [1816: edited by Deshayes].
    Bucquoy, E., P. Dautzenberg, and G. Dollfus. 1886. Les mollusques marins du Roussillon, Tome I, Gastropodes. J. B. Baillière & fils. Paris: 487-570 pp.; pls. 61-66.
    Cervera, J. L., G. Calado, C. Gavaia, M. A. E. Malaquías, J. Templado, M. Ballesteros, J. C. García-Gómez, and C. Megina. 2004. An annotated and updated checklist of the opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from Spain and Portugal (including islands and archipelagos). Boletín Instituto Español de Oceanografía, 20 (1-4): 1-111. L.
    Crocetta, F., H. Zibrowius, G. Bitar, J. Templado, and M. Oliveiro. 2013. Biogeographical homogeneity in the eastern Mediterranean Sea - I: the opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from Lebanon. Mediterranean Marine Science, Vol 14, no.2.
    Crocetta, F., G. Bitar, H. Zibrowius, and M. Oliverio. 2020. Increase in knowledge of the marine gastropod fauna of Lebanon since the 19th century. Bulletin of Marine Science. 96: 1–22.
    De Sama, A. 1916. Mollusca marina in littora Calafell et Vilanova a Antoni de Samà, et nunc in Museo Barcinonense Scienciarium Naturalum servata. An. Jun. Cièn. Nat. Ajunt. Barcelona, 47-62.
    Flanders Marine Institute. 2018. Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase: Territorial Seas. Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase. (
    García-Gómez, J. C., J. L. Cervera, F. J. García, J. A. Ortea, S. F. García-Martin, A. Medina, and L. P. Burnay. 1991. Resultados de la campaña internacional de biología marina “Algarve 88”: moluscos opistobranquios. Bollettino Malacologico 27 (5-9): 125-138.
    Giribet, G., and A. Peñas. 1997. Fauna malacológica del litoral del Garraf (NE de la Península Ibérica). Iberus 15 (1): 41-93.
    Hayward, P. J., G. D. Wigham, and N. Yonow. 1990. Mollusca I: Polyplacophora, Scaphopoda, and Gastropoda; pp. 628-730, In: , The marine fauna of the British Isles and north-west Europe, volume 2, xvi + 996 pp. Oxford University Press.
    Hidalgo, J. C. 1917. Fauna malacológica de España, Portugal y las Baleares. Trabajos del Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales. Serie Zoología (Madrid) 30: 752 pp.
    Høisæter, T. 2009. Distribution of marine, benthic, shell bearing gastropods along the Norwegian coast. Fauna Norvegica. 28: 5–106.
    Long, S. J. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    Luque, A. A. 1983. Contribución al conocimiento de los gasterópodos marinos de las costas de Málaga y Granada. Iberus 3: 51-74.
    Malaquias, M. A. E. 2015. Retusa truncatula accessed through: Artsdatabanken, Universitetsmuseet i Bergen, Universitetet i Bergen on 2015-04-17. (
    Malaquías, M. A. E. 2000. Additions to the knowledge of the opisthobranch molluscs of Selvagens Islands, SE Atlantic, Portugal. Arquipélago. supplement 2: 89–97.
    Malaquias, M. A., and G. J. P. Calado. 1997. The malacological fauna of Salvage Islands - 1. Opisthobranch Molluscs. Bol. Mus. Mun. Funchal, 49(281): 149-170.
    Malaquias, M. A. E., E. Martínez, and A. D. Abreu. 2002. Cephalaspidea sensu lato (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia) of the Madeira Archipelago and Selvagens Islands, northeast Atlantic, Portugal. American Malacological Bulletin. 17: 65–83.
    McDonald, G. 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia. 2nd Online Edition, Annotated. 1072 pp  Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. (
    Menéndez, J. L., and J. Oliveros. 2004. Retusa truncatula accessed through: AsturNatura on 2015-02-05. (
    Moro, L., J. L. Martín Esquivel, M. J. Garrido Sanahuja, and I. Izquierdo Zamora. 2003. Lista de especies marinas de Canarias (algas, hongos, plantas y animales). Consejería de Política Territorial y Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Canarias.
    Oliver, J. D., J. Templado, and D. K. Kersting. 2012. Gasterópodos marinos de las islas Columbretes (Mediterráneo occidental). Iberus, 30 (2).
    Oliverio, M., and L. P. Tringali. 2001. The types of marine molluscan species described by Monterosato, in the Museo Civico di Zoologia, Roma. General scope of the work, and part 1: the opisthobranch gastropods. Bollettino Malacologico 37(5-8): 121-142.
    Ortea, J., M. C. L. Moro, and J. J. Bacallado. 2003. Resultados Científicos del proyecto “Macaronesia 2000” Chinijo-2002: Moluscos Opistobranquios. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias 14 (3-4): 165-180.
    Ozturk, B., A. Dogan, B. Bitlis-Bakir, and A. Salman. 2014. Marine Molluscs of the Turkish Coasts: An Updated Checklist. Tübitak, Turkish Journal of Zoology 38.
    Peñas, A., E. Rolán, A. Luque, J. Templado, F. Rubio, D. Moreno, and A. Sierra. 2006. Moluscos marinos de la zona de la isla de Alborán. Iberus, supplement 6.
    Phorson, J. E. 1989. Some observations on juvenile shells of Retusa truncatula, Philine catena and Philine punctata. The Conchologists’ Newsletter 111: 223-226.
    Poppe, G. T., and Y. Goto. 1991. European Seashells, Vol 1. Wiesbaden, Verlag C.Hemmen: 352 pp.
    Prkić, J., A. Petani, Ð. Iglić, and L. Lanča. 2018. Stražnjoškržnjaci Jadranskoga Mora: Slikovni Atlas i Popis Hrvatskih Vrsta / Opisthobranchs of the Adriatic Sea: Photographic Atlas and List of Croatian Species. Ronilaćki Klub Sveti Roko, Bibinje.
    Rasmussen, E. 1944. Faunistic and biological notes on marine invertebrates I. The eggs and larvae of Brachystomia rissoides (Hanl), Eulimella nitidissima (Mont), Retusa truncatula (Brug) and Embletonia pallida (Alder & Hancock), (Gastropoda marina). Videnskabelige Meddelelser fra Danske naturhistorisk Forening i Kjobenhavn 107:207-333.
    Riedl, R. 1983. Fauna und Flora der Mittelmeeres, ein systematischer Meeresfuhrer fur Biologen und Naturfreunde, 836 pp. Paul Parey, Hamburg & Berlin.
    Rueda, J., C. Salas, and S. Gofas. 2000. A molluscan community from coastal bioclastic bottoms in the Strait of Gibraltar area. Iberus 18 (1): 95-123.
    Seaward, D. R. 1990. Distribution of the marine molluscs of north west Europe. Nature Conservancy Council.
    Sergeyeva, O. 2021. Retusa truncatula (Bruguière, 1792). Black Sea checklist for Ocean-Ukraine & Sibema. (
    Templado, J., and R. Villanueva. 2010. Checklist of Phylum Mollusca. pp. 148-198 In Coll, M., et al., 2010. The biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: estimates, patterns, and threats. PLoS ONE 5(8):36pp.
    Thompson, T. E. 1988. Molluscs: benthic opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) keys and notes for the  identification of the species., 2nd ed, Synopses of the British fauna,. E. J. Brill/Dr. W. Backhuys. Avon, Great Britain: 356 pp.
    Toll, L., and M. Ballesteros. 2017. “Opistobranquios” (Mollusca: Gastropoda) de la colección malacológica Lluís Dantart. Spira 6 (2017): 171–184.
    WoRMS Editorial Board. 2021. World Register of Marine Species. WoRMS. (

    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 (2021) "Retusa truncatula" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 10/09/2014. Accessed: 06/05/2021. Available at (

To copy this cite click on the right button.