Description A somewhat cylindrical and elongated body, with an internal and membranous shell, divided into a head shield and a visceral hump on the rear end, partially covered by the mantle. The head shield has a wider and roughly bilobed front edge, and covers the first two thirds of the total body length. It can reach a maximum length of 33 mm (Sammut & Perrone, 1998) but the usual size is between 10 and 20mm. The color pattern can be very variable: some specimens are velvety black or dark brown with bluish reflections, dotted with spots of golden white or orange, while other specimens are rust-like brown with fine yellow dots. In any case, all of them have a “W” mark on the leading edge of the head as well as a white or cream colored spot at the rear end of the head shield, and also have five orange points in the front of the head. A number of sensory bristles located on the front of the head, densest on two prominences to the sides of the mouth, allow it to detect their preys. Two round black eyes can be clearly visible, or not, on the leading edge of the head, between the two cephalic lobes. The foot expands laterally and symmetrically in two long arch shaped parapodia, and with a color similar to the body, without white pigmentation, and partially covering the back of the animal. The base of the foot also has a similar color. The mantle has a thin white line on the posterior margin, with a long flagellum on the left side and a short one on the right side.
Biology According to Marshall & Willan (1999) it prefers sandy areas with accumulations of algal debris from the low tide level down to depths of 20m. With nocturnal habits, is is found in protected areas as well as in exposed areas. In the Mediterranean it is rarely found, usually in rocky habitats with algal populations down to 12m deep. It probably feeds on polychaete or small acelomate flatworms it is supposed to absorb very quickly. The spawn is a cord forming small sized irregular clusters. The sticky cover of the eggs can capture detritus from the environment for reinforcement and camouflage. Hatching occurs after four days (under laboratory conditions).
Biuve, because of the presence of a “W” shaped mark on the head region. From Latin “bi”, two and “uve” Spanish for letter “v”.
Fulvipunctata. From Latin word “Fulvi”, yellow haired or blonde, also tawny, from brownish-orange to light brown color + “Punctata”, from French “ponctuée”, from Latin “punctatus”, dotted, with dots or spots. Yellow dotted.
Distribution Widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific, as it is present in Japan, Hawaii, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Marshall Islands, Reunion, Vanuatu, Mexico, South Africa and Mozambique. It is also present in the Mediterranean, where there are very few confirmed reports: Selimiye port, Antalya, Turkey as Chelidonura mediterranea (Swennen, 1961), Israel (Mienis and Gat, 1987), Malta (Perrone and Sammut, 1997), Cyprus ( Tsiakkiros and Zenetos, 2011), Italy (2015), France (Horst, 2015) and Menorca, Balearic Islands, Spain (Karachle et al., 2016), all as Chelidonura fulvipunctata. This wide geographical dispersion, together with the high chromatic patterns diversity, suggests that we are talking of different species within the same genus, although further molecular studies are needed to certify this hypothesis.
Known georeferenced records of the species: Biuve fulvipunctata
Çinar, M. E., Bilecenoglu, M., Öztürk, B., Katağan, T., & Yokeş, M. B. (2011). An updated review of alien species on the coasts of Turkey. Mediterranean Marine Science, 12(2): 257-315.
Crocetta, F., Zibrowius, H., Bitar, G., Templado, J., & Oliveiro, M. (2013). Biogeographical homogeneity in the eastern Mediterranean Sea - I: the opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from Lebanon. Mediterranean Marine Science, Vol 14, No.2.
Crocetta, F., Bitar, G., Zibrowius, H., & Oliverio, M. (2020). Increase in knowledge of the marine gastropod fauna of Lebanon since the 19th century. Bulletin of Marine Science, 96(1), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2019.0012
Flanders Marine Institute. (2018). Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase: Territorial Seas. Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase. http://www.marineregions.org/
Galil, B., Douek, J., Mienis, H. K., & Rinkevich, B. (2016). Comments on “The Mediterranean Sea as a gateway for invasion of the Red Sea: the case of the Indo-West Pacific head-shield slug Chelidonura fulvipunctata Baba, 1938” by Manuel António E. Malaquias, Andrea Zamora-Silva, Dyana Vitale, Andrea Spinelli, Sergio De Matteo, Salvatore Giacobbe, Deneb Ortigosa and Juan L. Cervera, Aquatic Invasions, 2016. Aquatic Invasions (2016) Volume 11, Issue 4: 351–354. https://doi.org/10.3391/ai.2016.11.4.01
Gosliner, T. M. (1980). Systematics and phylogeny of the Aglajidae (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 66: 325-360.
Herrero-Barrencua, A., Moro, L., & Ortea, J. (2016). Primeros registros de Chelidonura fulvipunctata Baba, 1938 y Diaphorodoris papillata Portmann & Sandmeier, 1960 (Mollusca: Heterobranchia) en las islas Canarias. Vieraea, 44: 121-126.
Horst, D. (2015). Premier signalement d’un spécimen vivant de Chelidonura fulvipunctata (Gastropoda, Cephalaspidea, Aglajidae) en Méditerranée occidentale, sur les côtes françaises. Xenophora 150: 18.
Long, S. J. (2006). Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
Malaquias, M. A. E., Madrenas, E., & Ballesteros, M. (2016). First occurrence of the tropical Indo-West Pacific head-shield sea slug Chelidonura fulvipunctata in the Balearic Islands confirms its range extension into the western Mediterranean Sea [in] (Karachle et al., 2016 - New Mediterranean Biodiversity Records [March 2016]). Mediterranean Marine Science, 17/1, 2016, 230-252.
Malaquias, M. A. E., Zamora-Silva, A., Vitale, D., Spinelli, A., De Matteo, S., Giacobbe, S., Ortigosa, D., & Cervera, J. L. (2016). The Mediterranean Sea as a gateway for invasion of the Red Sea: the case of the Indo-West Pacific head-shield slug Chelidonura fulvipunctata Baba, 1938. Aquatic Invasions (2016) Volume 11, Issue 3: 247–255.
Malaquias, M. A. E., Zamora-Silva, A., Vitale, D., Spinelli, A., De Matteo, S., Giacobbe, S., Ortigosa, D., & Cervera, J. L. (2017). The Suez Canal as a revolving door for marine species: a reply to Galil et al. (2016). Aquatic Invasions (2017) Volume 12 Article in Press.
Marshall, J. G., & Willan, R. C. (1999). Nudibranchs of Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef : a survey of the Opisthobranchia (sea slugs) of Heron and Wistari Reefs. Backhuys: Leiden. x, 257 pp.
Mienis, H. K., & Gat, G. (1987). A Record of the Indo-Pacific Species Chelidonura fulvipunctata from the Mediterranean Coast of Israel (Opisthobranchia Aglajidae). Levantina (67):709.
Ortea, J., Moro, L., & Espinosa, J. (2007). Descripción de dos nuevas especies de Philinopsis Pease, 1860 (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia: Cephalaspidea) de Cuba y Bahamas con comentarios sobre las especies atlánticas del género. Revista de La Academia Canaria de Ciencias 18(3-4): 33-52. [Nominal Issue for 2006; Published August 2007].
Oskars, T. R., Bouchet, P., & Malaquias, M. A. E. (2015). A new phylogeny of the Cephalaspidea (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia)based on expanded taxon sampling and gene markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 89 (2015) 130–150. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2015.04.011
Ozturk, B., Dogan, A., Bitlis-Bakir, B., & Salman, A. (2014). Marine Molluscs of the Turkish Coasts: An Updated Checklist. Tübitak, Turkish Journal of Zoology 38. https://doi.org/10.3906/zoo-1405-78
Perrone, A. S., & Sammut, C. (1997). Opisthobranchia of the genus Chelidonura Adams, 1850 (Cephalaspidae) from the Isle of Malta. Basteria 61(1-3): 61-70.
Sammut, C. R., & Perrone, A. S. (1998). A preliminary check-list of Opisthobranchia (Mollusca, Gastropoda) from the Maltese Islands. Basteria 62(5-6): 221-240.
Sciberras, M., & Schembri, P. J. (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.
Swennen, C. (1961). On a collection of Opisthobranchia from Turkey. Zoologische Mededelingen, Leiden 38 (3): 41-75.
Templado, J., & Villanueva, R. (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., & Doneddu, M. (2014). Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo (2a). Il Castello.
Tsiakkiros, L., & Zenetos, A. (2011). Further additions to the alien mollusk fauna along the Cyriot coast: new opisthobranch species. Acta Adriatica 52(1): 115 - 124.
Zamora-Silva, A., & Malaquias, M. A. E. (2017). Molecular phylogeny of the Aglajidae head-shield sea slugs (Heterobranchia: Cephalaspidea): new evolutionary lineages revealed and proposal of a new classification. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2017, XX, 1–51.