Melanochlamys wildpretii

Melanochlamys wildpretii  Ortea, Bacallado & Moro, 2003

Melanochlamys wildpretii @ Cap de Creus 11m 31-10-2015 by Enric Madrenas




































Melanochlamys wildpretii  Ortea, Bacallado & Moro, 2003

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 181207).
Taxonomic note: The cephalaspidean gastropod Melanochlamys wildpretii  Ortea, Bacallado & Moro, 2003 was first described for the island of Gran Canaria (Ortea et al. 2003). It was changed later by the same authors to the genus Spinoaglaja (Ortea et al. 2013) based on external morphology and shell morphology. Ornelas-Gatdula & Valdés (2012) using molecular and morphological data, consider Spinoaglaja synonymous of Philinopsis as also say Camacho-García et al. (2014) in their phylogeny of the Aglajidae. WoRMS (accessed April 25, 2016) accepts this species under the name Melanochlamys wildpretii and in CLEMAM database (accessed April 25, 2016) this species is considered synonymous of Spinoaglaja aeci. According to the latest published molecular analyses (Zamora-Silva & Malaquias, 2017), here we consider the species as belonging to the genus Melanochlamys.


  • Philinopsis wildpretii  (Ortea, Bacallado & Moro, 2003)
  • Spinoaglaja wildpretii  (Ortea, Bacallado & Moro, 2003)

The few specimens found so far measure about 10 mm in length but it is reported a maximum size of 25 mm (Horst & Juan, 2014). The body is elongated and stylized. The head shield is elongated, slightly lobed in the front side and widens just behind the area where the eyes are; the rear area becomes narrower and the rear edge, which reaches somewhere past than half of the body, is rounded. Posterior body lobes are of the same size and widen slightly outwards. The parapodial lobes are underdeveloped, leaving free the central region of the body. The foot is slightly wider than the head shield. The color of the animal is approximately light brown or orange with white pigment in different parts of the body: According to the samples, these white pigment spots form irregular shaped and sized stains on the head shield, in the parapodial lobes, and the posterior lobes, with an almost constant transverse white band in the middle of the body that covers the parapodial lobes and the rear area of the head shield. It is also usually pigmented white on the rear edge of the posterior lobes. Anterior lateral areas of the foot also have a white spot. The shell is internal and cannot seen by transparency.

According to the original description (Ortea et al. 2003), collected specimens of this species in the Canary Islands show burrowing habits and live in mud or sand bottoms with partially buried stones and covered with turf algae, between 4 and 15 m depth, where they move swiftly on the sediment and are able to bury themselves in a few seconds. The specimens found in the Mediterranean were found in sandy shallow waters near rocks where Acetabularia acetabulum and Liagora viscida algae grow (Horst et al. 2014) and also on leaves and rhizomes of Posidonia oceanica and Cymodocea nodosa meadows with Caulerpa prolifera algae (Trainito et al. 2014). In the Greek islands there have been found empty shells of this species in sediment samples of a Zostera genus seagrass meadow (Manousis et al. 2012). In the Catalan coast of the Iberian Peninsula individuals of M.wildpretii have been observed among Posidonia rhizomes and among masses of photophilic algae (VIMAR).


  • Melanochlamys. From Greek “melan”, black + “chlamys”, tunic.
  • Wildpretii. Dedicated to Professor D. Wolfredo Wildpret de la Torre (1933). Bachelor of Pharmacy for the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, participated in the creation of the Biology Department, Faculty of Science, University of La Laguna, where he taught subjects such as botany and geobotany, and was founder of the subject Canary Flora and Vegetation. He was Professor of Botany until his retirement in 2003, when he became professor emeritus. His great-grandfather, Hermann Wildpret, was the botanical curator of the Botanical Garden of La Orotava.

This species was described for the coast of the island of Gran Canaria (Ortea et al. 2003) and since then only a few specimens have been found, all in the Mediterranean Sea. Empty  shells in the Greek Islands (Manousis et al. 2012 ) and live specimens at the island of Sardinia (Trainito & Doneddu, 2014), on the French Mediterranean coast (Horst & Juan, 2014), in the Italian Salento (, in the island of Malta (Romani & Pagli, 2015) and in different locations of the Catalan coast (VIMAR and GROC) where they represent the first records of the species for the Iberian Peninsula.

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


    Western Mediterranean:1 out of 5 stars
    Eastern Mediterranean:0 out of 5 stars
    Atlantic Ocean:1 out of 5 stars

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Melanochlamys wildpretii based on our own records.

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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2021) "Melanochlamys wildpretii" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 08/09/2014. Accessed: 26/10/2021. Available at (

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