Lamprohaminoea ovalis

Lamprohaminoea ovalis (Pease, 1868)

Lamprohaminoea ovalis @ Malta, 25-8-2017 by Enric Madrenas




































Lamprohaminoea ovalis  (Pease, 1868)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 1374303).

  • Haminea ovalis Pease, 1868
  • Haminoea ovalis Pease 1868
  • ?Haminea paulae Nardini, 1934
  • Haminoea linda Marcus and Burch, 1965
  • Haminea cyanomarginata Heller & Thompson, 1983
  • Haminoea cyanomarginata Heller & Thompson, 1983
  • Lamprohaminoea cyanomarginata (Heller & Thompson, 1983)

This is a small cephalaspidean, commonly from 5mm to 15 mm in length, with a shell size up to 10mm. The animal’s body background color is translucent whitish, with variable colourful patterns of yellow, orange or purple blotches. The cephalic shield has large yellow round blotches, sometimes encircled by white dots. There are clusters of white pigment dots along the upper lateral sides of the body. Mantle with yellow to orange round blotches rimed with a thick line of white pigment, sometimes with black dots. The “purple morph” (specimens found in the Mediterranean, identified so far as “L. cyanomarginata”) has a white background body and solid or dotted purple lines along the edges of the cephalic shield, parapodial and pallial lobes. Sometimes there are yellow round blotches along the body. The cephalic shield is deeply bilobed, each cephalic lobe elongated, often overlapping the other. Eyes are narrowly spaced, with a pigmented periocular area and sometimes with colourful blotches. Hancock’s organ is long and ridge-like. Parapodial lobes are short and do not meet dorsally. The pallial lobe is rounded and extends beyond the apex. A large purplish spot separates the two eyes, however the presence of yellow and purple spots is variable among specimens (Rudman, 2003). The shell is oval, smooth, translucent whitish in colour, with a rounded upper lip, extending slightly beyond apex. The columella is narrow, separated from last whorl by a narrow furrow. The callus folds back over the furrow.

Little is known about its biology. Like other species of this genus, probably feeds on diatoms and on filamentous algae. The spawn is a translucent ribbon with whitish capsules laid in a one and half turn spiral laid flat on the substrate (picture in Crocetta & Vazzana, 2009). In the Red Sea this species is found in the coral rubble in shallow waters, while in the Mediterranean it is usually seen at night, between 5-30 m of depth, on rocky surfaces covered with algae. A curious trailing behaviour among couples of individuals has been observed, where the leading individual is moving slowly on an almost straight pathway and the pursuing one hurries to catch the leader, moving on the exact trail of it, most probably by following the chemicals left behind, and when it catches, it tries to get under the leader and elevate it. Then the leader makes a quick turn on a vertical direction leaving its partner behind. After a few seconds of halt the pursuer follows the new route to catch the leader again (Yokeş in Sea Slug Forum, 2005). This has been observed both in open sea waters and in aquaria and probably corresponds to mating behaviour. Mollo et al. (2008) found toxic compounds with significant activity as feeding deterrents in this species. The conspicuous purple-blue margin of the animal distinguishes Lamprohaminoea ovalis from all other Mediterranean species of this genus.


  • Ovalis, referred to the oval shape of the internal shell. 

Described as Haminea ovalis by Pease (1868) from specimens found at Tahiti (French Polynesia), it was later reported at the Marshall Islands as Haminoea linda (Marcus & Burch, 1965). Also found at Australia (Queensland and Western Australia), Vanuatu, Philippines, Okinawa (Japan), Oman (report by Stewart Clarke at Daymaniyat Islands in 2013), and the Red Sea (Suakin in Sudan and the Dahlak Archipelago) as Lamprohaminoea cyanomarginata. It was later found in the Mediterranean Sea where it has stablished viable populations in Greece (2001: Zenetos et al., 2009), Turkey (2002: Çinar et al., 2011), Malta (2006: Sciberras & Schembri, 2007) and Italy (2007: Crocetta, 2012) as this species seems to be quite common in these areas. A report of 100 specimens on rocks covered with algae between 4 and 17 meters deep at Kašuni, Split, Croatia on 26/12/2016 (J. Prkić pers. comm.) would be the first report for the whole Adriatic Sea. Despite the absence of records from the far eastern Mediterranean, it has presumably reached its new distributional area through the Suez Canal (Katsanevakis et al. 2004). Fernández-Vilert et al. (2018) report this species in Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain. In october 2023 lots of specimens were reported at La Herradura, Granada (Spain).

Known georeferenced records of the species: Lamprohaminoea ovalis
: 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 monthly observation probability for Lamprohaminoea ovalis based on our own records.


Incorrectly identified by the video author, it shows two Lamprohaminoea ovalis
in a trailing behaviour probably related to mating activity.


More pictures


    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2023. OPK - Opistobranquis. (
    Bielecki, S., G. Cavignaux, J. M. Crouzet, and S. Grall. 2011. Des limaces de rêve.
    Canessa, M., G. Bavestrello, R. Cattaneo-Vietti, G. Furfaro, M. Doneddu, A. Navone, and E. Trainito. 2021. Rocky substrate affects benthic heterobranch assemblages and prey/predator relationships. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 38: 539-558. 261: 1–13.
    Çinar, M. E., M. Bilencenoglu, B. Ozturk, T. Katagan, and V. Aysel. 2005. Alien species on the coasts of Turkey. Medit. Mar. Sci, 6/2, 2005, 119-146.
    Çinar, M. E., M. Bilecenoglu, B. Öztürk, T. Katağan, and M. B. Yokeş. 2011. An updated review of alien species on the coasts of Turkey. Mediterranean Marine Science, 12(2): 257-315.
    Crocetta, F. 2011. Marine alien mollusca in Italy, a review. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 2012, 92(6), 1357–1365.
    Crocetta, F. 2012. Marine alien Mollusca in Italy: a critical review and state of the knowledge. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 92(6): 1357-1365.
    Crocetta, F., and A. Vazzana. 2009. First record of Haminoea cyanomarginata (Gastropoda: Haminoeidae) in the Italian Seas. Journal of the Marine Biological Association - Marine Biodiversity Records Vol.2 e11 (March 2009).
    Crocetta, F., W. Renda, and A. Vazzana. 2009. Alien mollusca along Calabrian shores of the Messina Strait area and a review of their distribution in the Italian seas. Boll. Malacol., 45: 15-30.
    Heller, J., and T. E. Thompson. 1983. Opistobranch molluscs of the Sudanese Red Sea. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 78: 317-348.
    Heller, J., and T. E. Thompson. 1983. Opistobranch molluscs of the Sudanese Red Sea. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 78(4): 317-348.
    Katsanevakis, S., K. Bogucarskis, F. Gatto, J. Vandekerkhove, I. Deriu, and A. S. Cardoso. 2012. Building the European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN): a novel approach for the exploration of distributed alien species data. BioInvasions Records. 1: 235-245.
    Kodiat, E. n.d. Haminoea cyanomarginata. Nudi Pixel.
    Long, S. J. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    Malaquias, M. A. E., and J. L. Cervera. 2006. The genus Haminoea (Gastropoda: cephalaspidea) in Portugal, with a review of the European species. J Moll Stud. 72:89–103.
    Mander, L. N., and H. W. Liu. 2010. Comprehensive natural products II : chemistry and biology, Elsevier Science. ed.
    McDonald, G. 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia. 2nd Online Edition, Annotated. 1072 pp  Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. (
    Mifsud, C. 2007. Haminoea cyanomarginata Heller & Thompson, 1983 (Gastropoda, Haminoeidae) , a new invader for the Maltese Islands. Novapex, 8: 29-30.
    Mollo, E., M. Gavagnin, M. Carbone, F. Castelluccio, F. Pozone, V. Roussis, J. Templado, M. T. Ghiselin, and G. Cimino. 2008. Factors promoting marine invasions: A chemoecological approach. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 105(12): 4582–4586.
    Occhipinti-Ambrogi, A., A. Marchini, G. Cantone, A. Castelli, C. Chimenz, M. Cormaci, C. Froglia, G. Furnari, M. C. Gambi, G. Giaccone, A. Giangrande, C. Gravili, F. Mastrototaro, C. Mazziotti, L. Orsi-Relini, and S. Piraino. 2010. Alien species along the Italian coasts: an overview. Biological Invasions. 13(1): 215-237.
    Oskars, T. R., and M. A. E. Malaquias. 2020. Systematic revision of the Indo-West Pacific colourful bubble-snails of the genus Lamprohaminoea Habe, 1952 (Cephalaspidea : Haminoeidae). Invertebrate Systematics, 34:727–756.
    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.
    Pease, W. H. 1868. Descriptions of marine Gasteropodae, inhabiting Polynesia. American Journal of Conchology 4(2):71-80, pls. 7-10.
    Ragkousis, M., N. Abdelali, E. Azzurro, A. Badreddine, M. Bariche, G. Bitar, F. Crocetta, F. Denitto, M. Digenis, R. El Zrelli, A. Ergenler, A. Fortic, V. Gerovasileiou, S. Grimes, S. Katsanevakis, C. Koçak, C. Licchelli, E. Loudaros, F. Mastrototaro, B. Mavric, S. Mavruk, A. Miliou, F. Montesanto, P. Ovalis, M. Pontes, L. Rabaoui, N. Sevingel, A. Spinelli, F. Tiralongo, A. Tsatiris, C. Turan, D. Vitale, F. Yalhin, S. Yapici, and A. Zenetos. 2020. New Alien Mediterranean Biodiversity Records (October 2020). Mediterranean Marine Science, 21(3), 631-652.
    Rudman, W. B. 1971. On the Opisthobranch genus Haminoea Turton & Kingston. Pacific Science. 25(4): 545-559.
    Rudman W.B. et al. 1998. Haminoea cyanomarginata accessed through: Sea Slug Forum on 2014-12-14. (
    Sciberras, M., and P. J. Schembri. 2007. A critical review of records of alien marine species from the Maltese Islands and surrounding waters (Central Mediterranean). Mediterranean Marine Science Volume 8/1, 2007, 41-66.
    Sperone, E., G. Giglio, M. Abate, S. Giglio, E. Madeo, A. Giglio, S. Golia, I. Sangerman, G. Mauro, V. Circosta, M. Aceto, F. Forestier, and S. Tripepi. 2015. Contribution to the knowledge of the animal xenodiversity along Calabrian coasts (southern Italy, central Mediterranean). Acta Adriatica 56(2): 245-258.
    Stasolla, G., F. Riolo, A. Macali, C. Pierri, and F. Crocetta. 2014. Further spreading in the Italian seas of already established non-indigenous mollusc species. Marine Biodiversity Records, Vol. 7; e120.
    Streftaris, N., and A. Zenetos. 2006. Alien marine species in the Mediterranean-the 100 ‘Worst Invasives’ and their impact. Mediterr Mar Sci. 7:87–118.
    Streftaris, N., A. Zenetos, and E. Papathanassiou. 2005. Globalisation in marine ecosystems: the story of non-indigenous marine species across European seas. Oceanogr. Mar. Biol. Ann. Rev. 43: 419-453.
    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.
    Trainito, E., and M. Doneddu. 2014. Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo, 2nd. ed. Il Castello.
    Yokeş, M. B., and W. B. Rudman. 2004. Lessepsian Opisthobranch from southwestern coast of Turkey; five new records for Mediterranean. In: Proceedings of the 37th CIESM Congress, 7-11 July 2004, Barcelona. Briand, F. et al. (Ed). CIESM Publishers, Monaco, 557 pp.
    Zenetos, A., S. Gofas, G. Russo, and J. Templado. 2004. Haminoea cyanomarginata accessed through: CIESM Atlas of Exotic Species in the Mediterranean on 2015-05-23. (
    Zenetos, A., D. Koutsoubas, and E. Vardala-Theodorou. 2005. Origin and vectors of introduction of  exotic molluscs in Greek waters. Belgian Journal of Zoology 135(2) 279-286.
    Zenetos, A., S. Gofas, G. Russo, and J. Templado. 2004. CIESM Atlas of exotic species in the Mediterranean. 3. Molluscs. CIESM Publishers, Monaco : 376 p.
    Zenetos, A., S. Gofas, C. Morri, A. Rosso, D. Violanti, J. E. Garcia Raso, M. E. Çinar, A. Almogi-Labin, A. S. Ates, E. Azzurro, E. Ballesteros, C. N. Bianchi, M. Bilecenoglu, M. C. Gambi, A. Giangrande, C. Gravili, O. Hyams-Kaphzan, P. K. Karachle, S. Katsanevakis, L. Lipej, F. Mastrototaro, F. Mineur, M. A. Pancucci-Papadopoulou, A. Ramos-Esplà, C. Salas, G. San Martin, A. Sfriso, N. Streftaris, and M. Verlaque. 2012. Alien species in the Mediterranean Sea by 2012. A contribution to the application of European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Part 2. Introduction trends and pathways. Mediterranean Marine Science, 13, 328-352.
    Zenetos, A., S. Gofas, M. Verlaque, M. E. Çinar, J. E. Garcia Raso, C. N. Bianchi, C. Morri, E. Azzurro, M. Bilecenoglu, C. Froglia, I. Siokou, D. Violanti, A. Sfriso, G. San Martin, A. Giangrande, T. Katağan, E. Ballesteros, A. Ramos-Esplà, F. Mastrototaro, O. Ocaña, A. Zingone, M. C. Gambi, and N. Streftaris. 2010. Alien species in the Mediterranean Sea by 2010. A contribution to the application of European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Part I. Spatial distribution. Mediterranean Marine Science, 11, 381-493.
    Zenetos, A., M. E. Çinar, M. A. Pancucci-Papadopoulou, J. G. Harmelin, G. Furnari, F. Andaloro, N. Bellou, N. Streftaris, and H. Zibrowius. 2005. Annotated list of marine alien species in the Mediterranean with records of the worst invasive species. Mediterranean Marine Science 6(2):63-118.
    Zenetos, A., V. Vassilopoulou, M. Salomidi, and D. Poursanidis. 2008. Additions to the marine alien fauna of Greek waters (2007 update). Mar Biodivers Rec. 1: 1-8.

    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:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas (2023) "Lamprohaminoea ovalis" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 03/09/2014. Accessed: 02/12/2023. Available at (

To copy this cite click on the right button.