Berghia verrucicornis

Berghia verrucicornis (Costa, A., 1867)

Berghia verrucicornis by Enric Madrenas










































Berghia verrucicornis  (A. Costa, 1867)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 196604).

  • Eolidia cavolinii Vérany, 1846
  • Eolis grossularia P. Fischer, 1869
  • Flabellina verrucicornis A. Costa, 1867 (original)
  • Spurilla margaritae Labbé, 1923
  • Spurilla verrucicornis (A. Costa, 1867)

This species can reach 20mm in length but observed specimens are generally smaller. The body color is hyaline white with the anterior dorsal area pigmented orange forming a band that widens when approaching the cardiac region. Behind the heart, this band becomes iridescent white ultil it reaches the tail. On the back of the head and front of the rhinophores there are two orange spots. The oral tentacles are long and semi-transparent except at the end, where they become opaque iridescent white. The rhinophores are short and relatively thick in relation to the size of the animal; they are semi-transparent in the base, red-orange in its middle portion, with short lateral lamellae and small dorsal tubercles, and white iridescent apex. The eyes are located just behind the base of the rhinophores. The cerata are gathered in about 10 groups on each side of the body, of which only the first groups are clearly differentiated from others. Between the first and the other groups of cerata there is the cardiac region, finely pigmented by orange spots. From the second group of cerata to the last there is no apparent separation between groups. Cerata are relatively short and are somewhat enlarged in their medium zone. They are translucent and the digestive gland can be seen within as a central wide brown cord. The apical end of the cerata is sharp and hyaline white and right below it there is a circular orange band. The foot is wide and white and develops a pair of triangular palps on the anterior zone. The genital openings are located in the center of the arc formed by the insertion into the body of the first group of cerata on the right side, while the anal opening is located slightly behind, in the center of the arc of the second group of cerata on the right side.

This aeolidacean species is usually found under stones with hydrarians and anthozoans, usually in shallow water and tidal pools. It feeds on small infralapidicole anemones such as Sagartiogeton laceratus or Aiptasiogeton hyalinus. The spawn is a narrow cord 0.5 mm wide and about 4 mm in diameter wound in a two turns spiral. Eggs are white, measuring about 130 microns, and are placed very tight inside the ribbon.


  • Berghia. In honor to the Danish doctor and malacologyst Dr. Rudolph Bergh, (1824-1909).
  • Verrucicornis. Related to the wart (verrucae) covered horns (rhinophores).

Berghia verrucicornis has been reported in the eastern Atlantic from the coasts of Ghana to the European Atlantic coasts, where it can become abundant in locations such as the island of Ré (Charente-Maritime, France). It has been reported both in the Canary Islands and the Azores and it is also present in the Western Mediterranean. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been observed along its entire coastline, both Atlantic and Mediterranean. In Catalonia it has been reported mainly on the coast south of Barcelona (Sitges, Cubelles, Salou and Ametlla de Mar) but also in the Maresme (Mataró and Vilassar de Mar) and in some locations on the Costa Brava.
The presence of the genus Berghia Trinchese, 1877 in the western Atlantic has been the traditional object of discussion in malacological circles. The Atlantic species were assigned by the first authors to the European species Berghia coerulescens (Laurillard, 1830) and Berghia verrucicornis (A. Costa, 1864), which is why they were considered ampiathlantic species. However, several authors already suspected the existence of different Berghia species in the western Atlantic (Edmunds, 1968; García-Gómez & Thompson, 1990; Muniain & Ortea, 1999), however the lack of specimens from the western Atlantic for their study prevented clarifying the taxonomy of the genus until the work by Dominguez et al. (2008).

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

Similar species
Luisella babai, larger and coloured opaque white, with lamellate rhinophores, while B.verrucicornis is translucent with orange rhinophores with warts.


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

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



More pictures


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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, M., Madrenas, E. & Pontes, M. (2023) "Berghia verrucicornis" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 16/05/2012. Accessed: 13/04/2024. Available at (

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