Berghia columbina

Berghia columbina (García-Gómez & Thompson, 1990)

Berghia columbina @ Portugal by João Pedro Silva










































Berghia columbina  (García-Gómez & T. E. Thompson, 1990)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 138717).

  • Spurilla columbina Garcia-Gomez & Thompson, 1990 (original)

Animals of this species can reach a size of 30 mm in length. The general coloration of the body is whitish in juvenile animals, with light brown or orange hue in larger individuals. The most characteristic trait of this species are the spots or orange stripes that appear to the sides of the head and the body, in the cardiac zone, the back and the base of each group of cerata. In the latter case these orange stripes, which are very apparent, go from front to back and towards the middle of the back. The oral palps are semi-transparent and have white or slightly yellowish granulations in the distal half. The rhinophores have abundant small papillae from almost the base to the apex, they are orange in the lower half and upward this color turns to yellowish, the apex is white. The eyes are very apparent behind the base of the rhinophores. There are up to 11 groups of cerata on each side of the back. They are relatively elongated and sharpened at the tip. The digestive gland is light brown in color and occupies almost the entire interior of the cerata but the tip that has a white cnidosac. There may also be fine whitish scores on the surface of the cerata. The genital orifice is located right under the first group of cerata, while the anus is located under the second group on the right side of the body. The foot is almost transparent, it is wide and in its anterior part a pair of well developed propodials palps can be observed.

This species is located on the Atlantic coasts under rocks in the intertidal. In the Mediterranean it has been located in Posidonia oceanica meadows. The spawn consists of a simple spiral cord of 2-3 turns containing white eggs inside ovigerous capsules 120-150 microns long (García-Gómez & Thompson, 1990).


  • Berghia. In honor of the Danish physician and malacologist Dr. Rudolph Bergh, (1824-1909).
  • Columbina. In honor of Christophorus Columbus in commemoration of the fifth centenary of the discovery of America by Europeans.

There are few reports of this species, which is limited so far to the south-western coasts of the Iberian Peninsula (García-Gómez & Thompson, 1990, Portugal coast Calado & Silva, 2012), the Canary Islands (Ortea et al , 2000), the Andalusian Mediterranean coast (Moreno & Templado, 1998), the Atlantic coast of Morocco (Pruvot-Fol, 1953) and Senegal (Carmona et al., 2014). These last authors clarify the doubts that existed about the identity of B. rissodominguezi and B. columbina, confirming that they are different species by using molecular methods. Possible references to this species in the Catalan coasts are most probably related to B. marinae (Galià-Camps et al., 2020).

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

Similar species
Berghia marinae, described off the coast of Senegal is very similar and has also been reported in Mataró (Barcelona, Spain) where, despite it has intermediate traits for both species, molecularly it has been characterized as a different species (Galià-Camps et al., 2020).


    Western Mediterranean: ★☆☆☆☆
    Eastern Mediterranean: ☆☆☆☆☆
    Atlantic Ocean: ★☆☆☆☆

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Berghia columbina based on our own records.

More pictures


    Ballesteros M, Madrenas E, Pontes M. 2023. OPK - Opistobranquis. Available from
    Calado G, Urgorri V, Gaspar R, et al. 1999. Catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios bentónicos de las costas de Setúbal-Espichel (Portugal). Nova Acta Científica Compostelana (Bioloxía) 9: 285-294.
    Carmona L, Pola M, Gosliner TM, et al. 2013. A tale that morphology fails to tell: A molecular phylogeny of Aeolidiidae (Aeolidida, Nudibranchia, Gastropoda). PLoS ONE 8(5): e63000. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063000.
    Carmona L, Pola M, Gosliner TM, et al. 2014. The atlantic-mediterranean genus Berghia Trinchese, 1877 (Nudibranchia: Aeolididiidae): taxonomic review and phylogenetic analysis. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 80: 482-498.
    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.
    Domínguez M, Troncoso JS, García FJ. 2008. The family Aeolidiidae Gray, 1827 (Gastropoda Opisthobranchia) from Brazil, with a description of a new species belonging to the genus Berghia Trinchese, 1877. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 153(2):349–368.
    Edmunds M. 2015. Opisthobranchiate Mollusca from Ghana, Aeolidiidae, with consideration of several caribbean species. Journal of Conchology Vol. 42(2): 125-161.
    Galià-Camps C, Carmona L, Cabrito A, et al. 2020. Double trouble. A cryptic first record of Berghia marinae Carmona, Pola, Gosliner & Cervera 2014 in the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean Marine Science. 21(1):191–200.
    Garcia FJ, Bertsch H. 2009. Diversity and distribution of the Gastropoda Opisthobranchia from the Atlantic Ocean: A global biogeographic approach. Scientia Marina. 73(1):153–160.
    García-Gómez JC, Thompson TE. 1990. North Atlantic spurillid nudibranchs, with a description of a new species, Spurilla columbina, from the Andalusian coast of Spain. Journal of Molluscan Studies 56 (3): 323-331.
    Long SJ. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    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.
    Moro L, Martín Esquivel JL, Garrido Sanahuja MJ, et al. 2003. Lista de especies marinas de Canarias (algas, hongos, plantas y animales). Consejería de Política Territorial y Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Canarias. 248 p.
    Ortea JA, Moro L, Bacallado JJ, et al. 2001. Catálogo actualizado de los Moluscos Opistobranquios de las Islas Canarias. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias. 12(3–4):105–136.
    Pruvot-Fol A. 1953. Etude de quelques Opisthobranches de la côte Atlantique du Maroc et du Senegal. Travaux de l’Institut Scientifique Chérifien 5: 1-105.
    Silva JP. 2008 2014. Berghia columbina accessed through: Hypselodoris, Lesmas do Mar on 2014-12-21. 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.
    Trainito E, Doneddu M. 2014. Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo. 2nd. Il Castello. 192 p.
    Valdés A, Hamann J, Behrens DW, et al. 2006. Caribbean sea slugs: a field guide to the opisthobranch mollusks from the tropical northwestern Atlantic. Washington: Sea Challengers Natural History Books. 289 pp.
    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) "Berghia columbina" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 04/10/2013. Accessed: 05/03/2024. Available at (

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