Cylichna cylindracea

Cylichna cylindracea (Pennant, 1777)

Cylichna cylindracea @ Artsdatabanken - Cephalaspids of Norway - by Manuel Malaquias

Class: Gastropoda Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura Spengel, 1881
Clade: Euopisthobranchia Jörger et al., 2010
Clade: Cephalaspidea P. Fischer, 1883
Superfamily: Philinoidea J.E. Gray, 1850
Family: Cylichnidae H. Adams & A. Adams, 1854
Genus: Cylichna Lovén, 1846
Species: Cylichna cylindracea (Pennant, 1777)


  • Bulla cylindracea Pennant, 1777 (original)
  • Bulla cylindrica Bruguière, 1792
  • Bulla oliva Gmelin, 1791
  • Bulla producta Brown, 1827
  • Cylichna cylindracea var. linearis Jeffreys, 1867
  • Cylichna cylindrica (Bruguière, 1792)
  • Cylichna elongata Locard, 1886
  • Cylichna linearis Jeffreys, 1867
  • Cylichna producta (Brown, 1827)

This species can reach a size of about 20 mm long, of which 15 mm correspond to the shell. As in other cephalaspidean species the body is white or slightly cream. The head shield is slightly indented in the anterior side and has two rounded posterior lobes. When the animal is in movement the head shield is elongated doubling its normal length. There are no parapodial lobes in the body nor mantle lobe under the shell . This is solid and relatively thick for its size, of cylindrical shape, narrow and elongated, its color is white but  it is covered by a brown somewhat orange periostracum. The shell has a delicate sculpture of spiral grooves. The opening of the shell covers its entire length, it is narrow and only widens in the anterior side. The apex of the shell is depressed. The animal can not completely retract into the shell. Biology, anatomy and histology of this species, and others of the same genus, was studied in detail by Lemche (1956).

This cephalaspidean lives in clean sand or mud bottoms, from a few meters down to 1500 m of depth, where it can bury itself several centimeters (Thompson, 1988). It is believed that feeds on foraminifera and other interstitial organisms. When it is disturbed it may secrete a reddish fluid, possibly with defensive mission.


  • Cylichna. From Greek “kylichne”, small cup.
  • Cylindracea. From Latín “cylindratus”, cylindrical, shaped like a cylinder.

Its distribution range extends from northern Europe (Iceland, Norway, Lofoten islands) to the Iberian Peninsula, the Canary Islands, Madeira, Azores, Angola, Cape Verde, St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha islands (Rolan, 2005) and the Mediterranean. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been cited in all coastal areas, also in the Balearic islands. In the Catalan coast it has been found in different locations in the Costa Brava (Platja de Cap Ras in Colera, Llançà, Blanes), in Sant Pol de Mar, Sitges, Vilanova, Calafell, Mont-Roig del Camp, Vandellós and Sant Carles de la Rapita.

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


    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:
This chart displays the observation probability for Cylichna cylindracea based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Cylichna cylindracea" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 22/02/2015, Accessed: 18/01/2018 at (

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