Melanochlamys wildpretii

Melanochlamys wildpretii  Ortea, Bacallado & Moro, 2003

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




































Spinoaglaja wildpretii   (Ortea, Bacallado & Moro, 2003)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 744386).
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: ★☆☆☆☆
    Eastern Mediterranean: ☆☆☆☆☆
    Atlantic Ocean: ★☆☆☆☆

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

More pictures


    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2016. First record of the gastropod Philinopsis wildpretii (Ortea, Bacallado and Moro, 2003) (Cephalaspidea, Aglajidae) in the Iberian Peninsula. Marine Biodiversity · September 2016.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2016. Actualización del catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira. 6: 1–28.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2023. OPK - Opistobranquis. (
    Camacho-García, Y. E., E. Ornelas-Gatdula, T. M. Gosliner, and Á. Valdés. 2014. Phylogeny of the family Aglajidae (Pilsbry, 1895) (Heterobranchia: Cephalaspidea) inferred from mtDNA and nDNA. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 71: 113–126.
    Cervera, J. L., G. Calado, C. Gavaia, M. A. E. Malaquías, J. Templado, M. Ballesteros, J. C. García-Gómez, and C. Megina. 2004. An annotated and updated checklist of the opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from Spain and Portugal (including islands and archipelagos). Boletín Instituto Español de Oceanografía, 20 (1-4): 1-111. L.
    Cooke, S., D. Hanson, Y. Hirano, E. Ornelas-Gatdula, T. M. Gosliner, A. Y. Chernyshev, and A. Valdes. 2014. Cryptic diversity of Melanochlamys sea slugs (Gastropoda, Aglajidae) in the North Pacific. Zoologica Scripta 43: 351-369.
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    Gosliner, T. M. 1980. Systematics and phylogeny of the Aglajidae (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 66: 325-360.
    Horst, D., and E. Juan. 2015. Premier signalement d’un spécimen vivant de Spinoaglaja wildpretii (Gastropoda, Cephalaspidea, Aglajidae) sur les côtes françaises de Méditerranée. Xenophora 150: 20.
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    Manousis, T., G. Mpardakis, A. Zamora-Silva, K. Paraskevopoulos, D. Manios, and S. Galinou-Mitsoudi. 2012. New findings of gastropods in the Hellenic seas with emphasis on their origin and distribution status. Journal of Biological Research—Thessaloniki, 18: 249–264.
    McDonald, G. 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia. 2nd Online Edition, Annotated. 1072 pp  Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. (
    Ornelas-Gatdula, E., and Á. Valdés. 2012. Two cryptic and sympatric species of Philinopsis (Cephalaspidea: Aglajidae) in the Bahamas distinguished using molecular and anatomical data. Journal of Molluscan Studies. 78(4): 313-320.
    Ornelas-Gatdula, E., A. Dupont, and A. Valdés. 2011. The tail tells the tale: taxonomy and biogeography of some Atlantic Chelidonura (Gastropoda: Cephalaspidea: Aglajidae) inferred from nuclear and mitochondrial gene data. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163: 1077–1095.
    Ortea, J., J. J. Bacallado, and L. Moro. 2013. Notas en Opistobranchia (Mollusca, Gastropoda) 6: Melanochlamys wildpreti Ortea, Bacallado & Moro, 2003, una especie válida de Spinoaglaja Ortea, Espinosa & Moro, 2007. (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia: Cephalaspidea). Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias, 25: 79-82. [Dated.
    Ortea, J., J. Espinosa, L. Moro, M. Caballer, and J. J. Bacallado. 2012. Notas en Opisthobranchia (Mollusca, Gastropoda) 5: Sobre el uso de la concha interna como caracter sistematico de primer orden en el inventario de las especies atlanticas de la familia Aglajidae (Mollusca: Cephalaspidea). Revista de la Academia de Ciencias 24: 183-195. [December 2012].
    Ortea, J., J. J. Bacallado, and L. Moro. 2003. Una nueva especie de Melanochlamys Cheesman, 1881 de las islas Canarias, descrita en honor al Dr. Wolfredo Wildpret de la Torre (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia: Cephalaspidea). Vieraea 31: 303-307.
    Ortea, J., L. Moro, and J. Espinosa. 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].
    Ortea, J., L. Moro, and J. J. Bacallado. 2015. Babosas Marinas Canarias. Turquesa Ediciones.
    Prkić, J., A. Petani, Ð. Iglić, and L. Lanča. 2018. Stražnjoškržnjaci Jadranskoga Mora: Slikovni Atlas i Popis Hrvatskih Vrsta / Opisthobranchs of the Adriatic Sea: Photographic Atlas and List of Croatian Species. Ronilaćki Klub Sveti Roko, Bibinje.
    Romani, L., and A. Pagli. 2015. The genus Spinoaglaja Ortea, Moro & Espinosa, 2007 in the Mediterranean Sea: new records and observations on shell variability (Opisthobranchia, Aglajidae). Boll. Malacol., 50: 137-139.
    Trainito, E., and M. Doneddu. 2014. First record of living specimens of Spinoaglaja wildpretii (Gastropoda: Cephalaspidea: Aglajidae) from the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biodiversity Records 7: e39 3pp. DOI: 10.1017/S1755267214000396. published online by Cambridge University Press 24 april 2014.
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    Zamora-Silva, A., and M. A. E. Malaquias. 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.

    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:

Ballesteros, M., Madrenas, E. & Pontes, M. (2023) "Melanochlamys wildpretii" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 08/09/2014. Accessed: 27/02/2024. Available at (

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