Philine catena

Philine catena (Montagu, 1803)

Philine catena @ Costa Brava 3-05-2015 by Enric Madrenas

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: Philinidae  J.E. Gray, 1850
Genus: Philine  Ascanius, 1772
Species: Philine catena (Montagu, 1803)


  • Bulla catena Montagu, 1803 (original)
  • Bullaea angustata Philippi, 1836
  • Bullaea catenata Thorpe, 1844 
  • Bullaea catina Brown, 1827 
  • Bullaea punctata Philippi, 1836 
  • Bullaea sculpta Wood, 1848
  • Philine catena var. zona Jeffreys, 1867 
  • Philine catenata Locard, 1886 

This species can reach a total length of about 1 cm. The body is long and narrow, coloured in light brown or cream with many brown scores that, according to their density may darken the body more or less. The cephalic shield is long and narrow and occupies two thirds of the total body length, its front and rear ends are almost truncated. Some specimens may have two or three small elongated brown spots on the middle of the cephalic shield. Parapodial lobes are short and only cover the sides of the body. Paleal lobe occupies only one third of the body length, it is almost square and its rear end differentiates two short rounded protuberances. The shell is internal, small, whitish, thin and very fragile with an almost rectangular shape; its opening is very wide and its outer surface is microsculpted with spiral chains composed of small elongated depressions with a design similar to beads on a necklace. The apex of the shell is slightly depressed. The foot is long and narrow and occupies the entire ventral surface of the body.

Philine catena lives in sand and gravel bottoms, from the intertidal zone, in tide pools or under rocks, down to 2,000 m deep (Thompson, 1988). Virtually nothing is known about its feeding or reproduction, but empty shells of this species have been found in the stomachs of some flatfish like the witch (Glyptocephalus cynoglossus) and the lemon witch (Microstomus kitt) (Thompson, 1976).


  • Philine. Derived from the Greek word “philos” which means “friend”.
  • Catena. From Latin “catēna”, chain.

This species of cephalaspidean lives from northern Europe (Lofoten Islands, Norway, British coast) to the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean Sea. It has been also cited in the Canary Islands and in Madeira. In the Iberian Peninsula, it has been cited in all coastal areas but the Atlantic coasts of Andalucía, and it is also present in Balearic Islands (Cervera et al. 2004). In Catalonia it has been found on the beach of Cap Ras (Colera), Llançà, Sitges, Cubelles, Hospitalet de l’Infant, Vandellós and Sant Carles de la Rapita.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Philine catena
: 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 Philine catena based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes et al. (2012-2017) "Philine catena" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 11/09/2014, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (

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