Facelina bostoniensis

Facelina bostoniensis (Couthouy, 1838)

Facelina bostoniensis by Bernard Picton










































Facelina bostoniensis  (Couthouy, 1838)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139908).

  • Aeolis gigas Costa A., 1866
  • Eolidia jani Vérany, 1846 
  • Eolidia panizzai Vérany, 1846 
  • Eolis bostoniensis Couthouy, 1838 (original)
  • Eolis curta Alder & Hancock, 1843 
  • Eolis drummondi Thompson W., 1844
  • Eolis tenuibranchialis Alder & Hancock, 1845

This species can reach a large size (up to 55 mm in length). The body is semitransparent, with the back pigmented cream and pink on the head, which is covered by small white stains that, between the rinophores form a discontinuous line that continues briefly behind them. As in other species the esophagus can be viewed by transparency in the head and behind the rhinophores it is like a reddinsh cord curved to the left. Los oral tentacles are very long and cream colored, color that softens progressively to the tip, there could be minute bluish of whitish stains on the dorsal side of the oral tentacles. Rhinophores are translucent with pink stains and a white apex, they have 20 to 30 lamellae, alternatively wide and narrow and along its length, and the rhinophoric nerve channel can be appreciated. Eyes are located on the back of the rhinophores’ base. The body is covered with 6-7 cerata groups and, unlike in other species of Facelina, they appear quite close, without apparent spaces among groups. Cerata are long, thin and translucent, so the digestive gland can be seen inside as a narrow brown cord that ends in an enlarged white cnidosac in the apex. The front side of the cerata is sprayed white, with a diffuse subapical stain of the same color. The foot is very large and is semitransparent, its front part ending in a pair of wide, triangular propodial tentacles.

It is a very active species that feeds on a wide range of tubular hydrozoans as Tubularia larynx, T. indivisa, Clava multicornis, Clytia johnstoni, Coryne eximia, Dynamena pumila, Obelia geniculata, Eudendrium ramosum. It may prey also on polyps of the jellyfish Aurelia aurita, stauromedusae of the gender Lucernaria and even other nudibranchs. It lives under stones from the intertidal zone up to 30-40 meters of water, preferably on rocky walls with an abundance of sessile invertebrates. The spawn is a flat spiral has several turns with several thousands of white eggs.


  • Bostoniensis. Means “from Boston”. Boston was the largest city in the state of Massachusetts, in the United States, until the founding of Philadelphia. Boston was named after Boston, Lincolnshire, England, home of many of the settlers who founded it.
  • Facelina – Latin for “lined face”.

This species was formerly known as F. drummondi. It is an anfiatlantic species, initially described in the shores of Massachusetts (USA). It was later cited in the coast of Maine (USA), then in the Atlantic european shores from Norway to the Iberian Peninsula. Literature reports from the Mediterranean correspond to Facelina vicina (Bergh, 1882), a species reinstated by Carmona (2020). In the Iberian Peninsula it has been reported along the Cantabrian coast and in Portugal.

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

References for the species: Facelina bostoniensis

    Cantabria: Ortea (1977c, as F. drummondi). Portugal: De Oliveira (1895), Hidalgo (1916), Nobre (1932) (all records as F. drummondi), García-Gómez et al. (1991).

    General: Abric, 1904a:6; Ballesteros, 1984b:48; 1985:30; Beaumont, 1900:841; Bergh, 1860:321; 1868:210; 1874:400; 1876b:756; 1882:25; Colgan, 1914:187; Eliot, 1906d:157; Hoffmann, 1926:21; Jutting & Engel, 1936:69; Pruvot-Fol, 1953b:57[P]; Riedl, 1970:433; Schmekel, 1970:151; Trinchese, 1881:41; 1881a:41; Vicente, 1963a:177; 1967:157; 1981:79; Walton, 1908:236 as Facelina drummondi; Bergh, 1885:44; Brown, 1981:335; Brown & Picton, 1979:21; Dekker, 1989:103; Hayward, Wigham, & Yonow, 1990:722; Just & Edmunds, 1985:130[P]; Meyer, 1970:143; Picton & Morrow, 1994:124[P]; Sabelli, Giannuzzi-Savelli, & Bedulli, 1990:449; Thompson, 1988:316[P]; Thompson & Brown, 1984:148[P]; Verrill, 1880a:389 as Facelina bostoniensis

    Sources: Cervera et al., 2004, Ballesteros, 2007 & 2016, McDonald, 2006 and other sources.

Similar species
Facelina auriculata, has a pink dorsum and cerata show a blue iridescence. Facelina vicina, is a very similar strictly Mediterranean species and can only be separated from F. bostoniensis by molecular methods.


    Western Mediterranean:0 out of 5 stars
    Eastern Mediterranean:0 out of 5 stars
    Atlantic Ocean:2 out of 5 stars

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Facelina bostoniensis based on our own records.

More pictures


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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2021) "Facelina bostoniensis" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 17/05/2012. Accessed: 19/04/2021. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/A5VMH)

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