Philine iris

Philine iris Tringali, 2001

Philine iris @ Granada, Spain by Luis Sánchez-Tocino







































Philine iris  Tringali, 2001

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 181200).
Taxonomic note: Philine iris was described by Tringali (2001) in northern Morocco, based only on the shell, as no live specimens were found. This incomplete description has made subsequent findings incorrectly cited by other names. It appears illustrated for the first time in the work by Moreno and Templado (1998) on the Spanish southeast, but was cited as Philine sp. due to the uncertainties presented by its identification, until Ortea et al. (2003) identified it as P. iris.

This species has the body elongated and of small size (up to 5 mm in length). In its rear part, the fine internal shell and internal viscera are visible by transparency, since the shell is not very calcified. The animal is of a characteristic uniform orange color, without spots or marks. The cephalic shield occupies near the anterior half of the body. The foot has lateral extensions or parapods that do not cover either the cephalic shield nor the back of the body, which are exposed. The back of the foot is narrow and rounded, located between the two posterior lobes, which can be seen when the animal is moving. The internal shell is globose, has few turns and has a large opening. It has small holes or marks that form simple lines at the beginning of the spire, becoming rows of chains visible as growth lines.

Species of the genus Philine inhabit sandy or mud bottoms close to rocks and generally feed on foraminifera and other small invertebrates (Ohnheiser & Malaquias 2013).


  • Philine. Derived from Greek “philainoi”, name of two Carthaginian brothers who fougth for their homeland and who received honors as Gods.
  • Iris. The type locality name (Cala Iris, Torres de Alcalá, Morocco) inspired the specific name.

This species has been reported in Greece (Manousis et al, 2012), Malta (Cachia et al., 2004), Italy (Romani & Bartolini, 2014), France (Tringali, 2001), Morocco (Tringali, 2001) and Spain, where it has been found on the shores of Tarragona (Capdevila & Folch, 2009), Murcia, Almería and Granada (Moreno & Templado, 1998), Málaga (Perna, 2013), on the island of Alborán (Peñas et al., 2006), Ceuta (Moreno & Templado, 1998), Cádiz (Pérez-García & Cervera, 2019) and Lanzarote, Canary Islands (Ortea et al., 2003).

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



More pictures


    Ballesteros M, Madrenas E, Pontes M. 2024. OPK - Opistobranquis. Available from
    Cachia C, Mifsud C, Sammut PM. 2004. The classes Caudofoveata, Solenogastres, Bivalvia, Scaphopoda & Cephalopoda. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden (The Marine Mollusca of the Maltese Islands). 270 p.
    Capdevila M, Folch J. 2009. Fauna malacològica del Parc Subaquàtic de Tarragona (el Tarragonès, Catalunya, Espanya). SPIRA Vol. 3 Núms. 1-2 Pàg. 33-51.
    Cervera JL, Calado G, Gavaia C, et al. 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.
    Crocetta F, Tringali LP. 2017. Remarks on Philine striatula Monterosato, 1874 ex Jeffreys ms., with a survey on Philinidae J.E. Gray, 1850 (1815) sensu lato (Gastropoda: Cephalaspidea) recently ascribed to the Mediterranean fauna. Mar.Biodiv.
    Long SJ. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    Manousis T, Mpardakis G, Zamora-Silva A, et al. 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. Available from
    Moreno D, Templado J. 1998. Nuevas aportaciones al conocimiento de los opistobranquios del sureste español. II. Iberus 16 (2): 39-58.
    Ortea J, L. Moro MC, Bacallado JJ. 2003. Resultados Científicos del proyecto “Macaronesia 2000” Chinijo-2002: Moluscos Opistobranquios. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias 14 (3-4): 165-180.
    Peñas A, Rolán E, Luque A, et al. 2006. Moluscos marinos de la zona de la isla de Alborán. Iberus, supplement 6.
    Pérez-García P, Cervera JL. 2019. Primera cita del cefalaspídeo Philine iris Tringali, 2001 (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) para las costas gaditanas. Rev. Soc. Gad. Hist. Nat. 13: 1-4.
    Perna E. 2013. La collezione Perna Atlanto mediterranea. I Quaderni di Malachia, Gastropoda. Associazione Naturalistica Malachia 7: 1-271.
    Romani L, Bartolini S. 2014. Prima segnalazione di Philine iris Tringali, 2001 (Opisthobranchia, Philinidae) per le acque italiane. Bollettino Malacologico. 50: 140-141.
    Sánchez-Tocino L. 2018. El Litoral de Granada - Opistobranquios. El Litoral de Granada. Available from
    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.
    Tringali LP. 2001. Marine malacological records (Gastropoda, Prosobranchia, Heterobranchia, Opisthobranchia and Pulmonata) from Torres de Alcalá, Mediterranean Morocco, with the description of a new philinid species. Bollettino Malacologico 37(9-12): 207-222.
    WoRMS Editorial Board. 2023. World Register of Marine Species. WoRMS. Available from

    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) "Philine iris" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 26/01/2018. Accessed: 18/05/2024. Available at (

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