Dondice banyulensis

Dondice banyulensis (Portmann & Sandmeier, 1960)

Dondice banyulensis by Enric Madrenas










































Dondice banyulensis  Portmann & Sandmeier, 1960

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139938).

  • Dondice nicolae Vicente, 1967
  • Godiva banyulensis Portmann & Sandmeier, 1960

It is the largest aeolidacean of the Mediterranean as it can reach up to 7 cm in length. Unmistakable by its size and by its spectacular orange color, darker on the head and lighter on the back, where the internal organs can be guessed by transparency. All the animal’s body is traversed by a white dorsal midline passing between the base of the rhinophores, running all along the head and bifurcates to penetrate in the inner side of the oral tentacles. There is another white line that runs along both sides of the body, below the insertion of the cerata. Sometimes there is also a white dashed line between the bases of cerata groups. The oral tentacles are very long, very wide at the base and colored orange except at the tip, which is white. The rhinophores are thin and short in relation to the size of the animal, they are almost completely ringed and coloured orange except the apex which is usually white. The cerata are usually assembled into 6 groups on each side of the body, each group with several rows of cerata. The cerata are long, slender, slightly curved and coloured orange, like the rest of the body. The digestive gland inside the cerata is shaped like a strand of brown. The anterior side of cerata may be iridescent white. The foot is very wide and semi-transparent, with all its margin tinged with an iridescent white line that runs all along it. At the tail, this marginal white line of the foot is fused to the dorsal white line. The propodial tentacles are thick and orange, but their tip is iridiscent white.

For years Dondice banyulensis was cited as a member of the genus Godiva, but it was later reinstated in its original genus Dondice. It is incomprehensible that the most spectacular and largest species of Mediterranean aeolidacean went unnoticed until 1960, when it was described by Portmann and Sandmeier as new to science. It is a very active species and, as most facelinids, when provoked extends its cerata sideways in a clearly defensive manoeuvre. It is found in a variety of habitats and substrates such as over hydrozoans colonies of the genus Eudendrium, on gorgonians (Eunicella verrucosa), in the coralligenous, wandering on sandy bottoms or on rocky walls with photophilic algae. This species has been cited feeding on polyps Eudendrium, polychaetes and even other aeolidacean nudibranchs (Flabellina pedata, F. affinis, Cratena peregrina or Facelina rubrovittata). It has been observed that mating animals vigorously move their cerata. The spawn is a heavily scalloped lace with white eggs.


  • Dondice according to the BEMON, is the name of a Sâo Paulo company. It seems that many taxon names created by the Marcus are not evident.
  • Banyulensis referred the oceanographic station of Banyuls-sur-mer (France)

Until a few years ago, D. banyulensis was considered to be restricted to the western Mediterranean. However, it has recently been reported along the coasts of Croatia and Turkey, and in recent years it is known to be present on the Iberian Atlantic coast, from Tarifa (Cádiz) to Pasaia (Basque Country) and the Canary Islands. In the Iberian Peninsula it inhabits all the coastal areas of the Mediterranean and the Balearic Islands. In Catalonia it has been reported in many locations along the Costa Brava (Port de la Selva, Cadaqués, L’Estartit, Begur, Palamós, Tossa de Mar and Blanes) as well as off the port of Tarragona.

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

References for the species: Dondice banyulensis

Similar species
Fjordia lineata, whitish and translucent body, not orange, smaller size, cerata with an anterior white line, oral tentacles shorter than rhinophores.


    Western Mediterranean:3 out of 5 stars
    Eastern Mediterranean:1 out of 5 stars
    Atlantic Ocean:2 out of 5 stars

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Dondice banyulensis based on our own records.


Dondice banyulensis @ Alto Adriatico, Italy by Piero Mescalchin

Dondice banyulensis by Pascal Girard


More pictures


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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2021) "Dondice banyulensis" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 17/05/2012. Accessed: 31/07/2021. Available at (

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