Caloria quatrefagesi

Caloria quatrefagesi  (Vayssière, 1888)

Caloria quatrefagesi @ L'Escala, 31-3-2017 by Enric Madrenas










































Caloria quatrefagesi  (Vayssière, 1888)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 1511661).
Taxonomic note: This species was previously treated as a junior synonym of the type species of Caloria, C. elegans (Picton, 1979). More recently, it was recognized as a separate species on the basis of rhinophore morphology (Furfaro et al., 2016). Recent molecular phylogenetic analyses have recovered this species as a sister taxon of  C. elegans (Furfaro et al., 2016; Schillo et al., 2019), and phylogenetically distant to the type species of Facelina. Furthermore, C. quatrefagesi possesses a black gland at the tip of the cerata, which is a diagnostic feature of the genus Caloria (Picton, 1979). The new combination was proposed to clarify the phylogenetic affinity of this species (Ellis-Diamond et al., 2021).


  • Acanthopsole quatrefagesi Vayssière, 1888 (original)
  • Facelina quatrefagesi  Vayssière, 1888

The animals of this species have a very stylized, semitransparent white body. The propodial tentacles are thin, translucent and with an iridescent-white leading edge. The oral tentacles are relatively long and of the same color as the propodial tentacles. The rhinophores, shorter than the oral tentacles, have the anterior side also iridescent-white and perpendicular transversal olfactory lamellae on the upper two thirds of its length, on the back side. The eyes are clearly visible at the base of the rhinophores. The 7-8 cerata groups are laid with almost without gaps between them, so that the back appears homogeneously covered with them. Digestive gland inside the cerata, which colors them, is usually orange-red, with a black spot near the tip. The apex of the cerata are semitransparent, allowing the observation of the hepatic duct and the apical cnidosac. Longer cerata are the innermost of each group, are curved and intersect with the cerata from the other side. The foot is semitransparent and the tail is narrow and with a whitish middorsal line.

This species is very active. It can be located on rocky walls with an abundance of algae and hidrarians it can feed on. It is found sometimes on Halecium sp. When disturbed, it extends the cerata so it looks like an anemone. Very little is known about the biology of this species.


  • Caloria, in honor to professor Luigi Calori (1807-1896), President of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Bologna (Italy).
  • Quatrefagesi. Dedicated to Prof. Dr. Armand de Quatrefages de Bréau, (1810-1892), French physician, later professor of antropology in Paris and zoologist. Friend of H. Milne Edwards, he is also well-known for his scepticism to Darwinism, not based however in religious reasons.

This species has been reported from the Atlantic: Galicia, Portugal, Madeira and Gran Canaria, also in the western Mediterranean, where it is known from the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer (France), where it was described, also in Italy, Greece and even Israel. In Spain it has been found everywhere from Tarifa to Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.

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

Similar species
Caloria elegans, translucent white body, cerata with transparent or yellowish digestive gland, smooth rhinophores. Historically confused.


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

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Caloria quatrefagesi based on our own records.



More pictures


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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, M., Madrenas, E. & Pontes, M. (2023) "Caloria quatrefagesi" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 14/10/2014. Accessed: 25/04/2024. Available at (

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