Facelina quatrefagesi

Facelina quatrefagesi  Vayssière, 1888

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










































Facelina quatrefagesi  (Vayssière, 1888)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139913).

  • Acanthopsole quatrefagesi Vayssière, 1888 (original)

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.

A species very similar in appearance, Caloria elegans, with which it was erroneously synonymized (Picton, 1979), differs with Facelina quatrefagesi by having smooth rhinophores, occasionally with small rounded buds, and because the digestive gland inside the cerata are usually white, yellow or light orange.

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.


  • Facelina. In Latin means “lined face”.
  • 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: Facelina quatrefagesi
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions

References for the species: Facelina quatrefagesi

    Galicia: Ortea (1977c). Portugal:Joao Pedro Silva (2006,2010,2011). Levante: Enric Madrenas (pers.comm. Dénia 01-08-2002). Catalunya: Enric Madrenas (pers.comm. L´Escala 27-10-2013, Mataró 20-03-2014).

    General: Nordsieck, 1972:79 as Acanthopsole quatrefagesi; Pruvot-Fol, 1954b:390; Sabelli, Giannuzzi-Savelli, & Bedulli, 1990:449 as Facelina quatrefagesi

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

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


    Western Mediterranean:2 out of 5 stars
    Eastern Mediterranean:0 out of 5 stars
    Atlantic Ocean:1 out of 5 stars

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


Facelina quatrefagesi by Pascal Girard


More pictures


    Ballesteros, M. 1980. Contribución al conocimientos de los Sacoglosos y Nudibranquios (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia). Estudio anatómico, sistemático y faunístico de las especies del mediterráneo español. Tesis Doctoral.
    Ballesteros, M., J. Ortea, E. Martínez, and D. Vallvé. 1993. Dos nuevas especies de Facelina Alder and Hancock, 1855 (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia) para la Península Ibérica. Publicaciones Especiales. Instituto Español de Oceanografía 11: 123-129.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2021. OPK - Opistobranquis. (https://opistobranquis.info/).
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2016. Actualización del catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira 6(2016): 1-28.
    Ballesteros, M., M. Pontes, and E. Madrenas. 2019. Els nudibranquis del mar català. Brau, Figueres.
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    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, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2021) "Facelina quatrefagesi" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 14/10/2014. Accessed: 27/02/2021. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/L1kWM)

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