Description This animal is not very large, measuring from 3.5 to 5 cm. It has a slender body with a long tapering and dorsally keeled tail that could take one third of the body length. The oral tentacles are long and slender. The rhinophores are also slender, slightly wrinkled at rest but annulate when contracted. The dorsum is covered by many fusiform cerata, distributed in 5 groups: about 30-40 in the first group, 30 in the second, 25 in the third, 20 in the fourth, and 12-15 in the fifth, the outer ones shorter than the innermost. The genital orifice is located immediately below the first group, and the anal papilla is placed in the middle of the second group, both on the right side. On the front side of the foot there are two short propodial tentacles. The head is coloured pale orange, with 2 white lines running from the oral tentacles to the base of the rhinophores; the tentacles and the rhinophores have the same colour of the head, with bright yellow tips. The rest of body is translucent white, the tail has a narrow orange median stripe bordered by opaque (faintly blue) white. The dull blue coloured internal organs are visible through the skin by transparency. The cerata base colour is a purplish dark brown slightly sprinkled by small yellow dots, with a bright orange band towards the end, followed by brown narrow band, then a bright blue band, another brown narrow band, and then a bright yellow tip.
Biology As in most facelinids, when the animal is disturbed the tentacles and rhinophores are contracted, and simultaneously the cerata are extended and pointed in all directions like a bristling porcupine. It has been observed to predate on poliquetes and other nudibranchs.
Godiva. Presumably dedicated to the English legend of Lady Godiva who rode naked through Coventry in order to persuade her husband not to tax the townspeople so heavily; the only person to look at her as she rode by was a man named Tom and Peeping Tom has become a synonym for voyeur (circa 1040-1080). The link to the tale could be the word “nudibranch” = “nude” + “gill”.
Quadricolor. From Latin “quattor”, four + “color”, color.
Distribution Godiva quadricolor has been found in both tropical and temperate waters, mainly in the intertidal zone or in brackish lagoons, above and below rocks or in Zostera meadows. It is generally found in areas subject to heavy maritime traffic and highly anthropized, suggesting that the species, endemic to South Africa, has most likely been introduced to other regions through the ballast water of cargo ships. First collected in 1912 in False Bay, South Africa, it is considered common in shallow water along the entire east coast of South Africa. It has been reported in Mozambique, Tanzania and Ghana. In 1987 it was recorded in Fremantle and Cockburn Sound, Western Australia as well as South Queensland. In the Mediterranean a stable and very abundant population was observed in Lake Fusaro (Italy) and in the Pialassa della Baiona (Italy) in 1985, a stable population has also been found in the Ètang de Thau (France), places that they are brackish lagoons connected to the sea. In 2010, the species was found on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in the Strait of Gibraltar (Algeciras Bay), and on a fish farm in Salobreña (Granada). The first report from Catalonia was made in 2017 in Sant Feliu de Guíxols.
Known georeferenced records of the species: Godiva quadricolor
Australian Museum Business Services. (2002). Port survey for introduced marine species – Sydney Harbour, final report, viii + 62 pp. Appendix 12 - Mollusca survey results, pp 84-91. Australian Museum and Royal Botanic Gardens Database Search for All Marine Species from Sydney Harbour, 38 Unnumbered Pages.
Baba, K., & Hamatani, I. (1965). The anatomy of Sakuraeolis enosimensis (Baba, 1930), n. g. (=Hervia ceylonica (?) Eliot, 1913) (Nudibranchia - Eolidoidea). Publications of the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory 13(2):103-113, pls. VIII-X.
Ballesteros, M., Pontes, M., & Madrenas, E. (2019). Els nudibranquis del mar català. Brau Edicions.
Barnard, K. H. (1927). South African nudibranch mollusca, with descriptions of new species, and a note on some specimens from Tristan d’Acunha. Annals of the South African Museum 25(1): 171-215, Pl. 19-20.
Barnard, K. H. (1974). Contributions to the knowledge of South African Marine Mollusca. Part VII. Revised fauna list. Annals of the South African Museum, 4 663-781.
Behrens, D. W., Petrinos, C., & Schrurs, C. (2005). Nudibranch behavior. New World Publications.
Betti, F., Cattaneo-Vietti, R., & Bava, S. (2015). Northernmost record of Godiva quadricolor (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia) in the SCI “Fondali Noli – Bergeggi” (Ligurian Sea). Marine Biodiversity Records Vol. 8; E26. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1755267215000032
Betti, F., Bavestrello, G., & Cattaneo-Vietti, R. (2021). Preliminary evidence of fluorescence in Mediterranean heterobranchs. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 87, eyaa040. https://doi.org/10.1093/mollus/eyaa040
Carmona, L., Pola, M., Gosliner, T. M., & Cervera, J. L. (2015). Protaeolidiella atra Baba, 1955 versus Pleurolidia juliae Burn, 1966: One or two species? Helgol Mar Res 69:137-145.
Carmona, L., Pola, M., Gosliner, T. M., & Cervera, J. L. (2013). A tale that morphology fails to tell: A molecular phylogeny of Aeolidiidae (Aeolidida, Nudibranchia, Gastropoda). PLoS ONE 8(5): E63000. Doi:10.1371/Journal.Pone.0063000.
Cella, K., Carmona, L., Ekimova, I., Chichvarkhin, A., Schepetov, D., & Gosliner, T. M. (2016). A Radical Solution: The Phylogeny of the Nudibranch Family Fionidae. PLoS ONE 12/2016; 11(12):E0167800. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0167800
Cervera, J. L., Tamsouri, N., Moukrim, A., & Villani, G. (2010). New records of two alien opisthobranch molluscs from the north-eastern Atlantic: Polycera hedgpethi and Godiva quadricolor. Marine Biodiversity Records 3, E51, 1–4.
Debelius, H. (1996). Nudibranchs and Sea Snails: Indo-Pacific Field Guide. IKAN-Unterwasserarchiv, Frankfurt, Germany, 321 pp, 1000+ color illus.
Debelius, H., & Kuiter, R. H. (2007). Nudibranchs of the world. IKAN- Unterwasserarchiv.
Edmunds, M. (2015). Opisthobranchiate Mollusca from Ghana, Aeolidiidae, with consideration of several caribbean species. Journal of Conchology Vol. 42(2): 125-161.
Edmunds, M. (1977). Larval development, oceanic currents, and origins of the Opisthobranch fauna of Ghana. Journal of Molluscan Studies 43:301-308.
Edmunds, M. (1964). Eolid Mollusca from Jamaica, with the description of two new genera and three new species. Bulletin of Marine Science of the Gulf and Caribbean 14 (1): 1-32.
Flanders Marine Institute. (2018). Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase: Territorial Seas. Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase. http://www.marineregions.org/
Garcia, F. J., & Bertsch, H. (2009). Diversity and distribution of the Gastropoda Opisthobranchia from the Atlantic Ocean: A global biogeographic approach. Scientia Marina, 73(1), 153–160. https://doi.org/10.3989/scimar.2009.73n1153
García-Gómez, J. C. (2002). Paradigmas de una fauna insólita; Los moluscos opistobranquios del estrecho de Gibraltar (Serie Ciencias) 20: 397 pp. Instituto de Estudios Gibraltareños. Algeciras, Cádiz, Spain.
García-Gómez, J. C., & García, F. J. (1984). Estudio anatómico y algunas reseñas ecológicas de Godiva banyulensis (Portmann y Sandmeier) (Gastropoda: Nudibranchiata). Cahiers de Biologie Marine 25: 49-65.
Gerovasileiou, V., El Sayed, H. Kh. A., Akyol, O., Alongi, G., Azevedo, F., Babali, N., Bakiu, R., Bariche, M., Bennoui, A., Castriota, L., Chintiroglou, C., Crocetta, F., Deidun, A., Galinou-Mitsoudi, S., Giovos, I., Gogloku, M., Golemaj, A., Hadjioannou, L., Hartingerova, J., … Zenetos, A. (2017). New Mediterranean Biodiversity Records (July 2017). Mediterranean Marine Science 18(2):355-384. https://doi.org/10.12681/mms.13771
Gosliner, T. M. (1979). The systematics of the Aeolidiacea (Nudibranchia: Mollusca) of the Hawaiian Islands, with descriptions of two new species. Pacific Science 33(1): 37-77.
Gosliner, T. M. (1987). Nudibranchs of Southern Africa; A guide to Opisthobranchs Molluscs of Southern Africa. Sea Challengers and Jeff Hamann. Monterey, California, EEUU: 136 pp.
Long, S. J. (2006). Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
Macnae, W. (1957). The ecology of plants and animals in the intertidal regions of the Zwartkops Estuary, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Journal of Ecology 45(2):pp 361-387.
MacNae, W. (1954). On the status of the generic names of the nudibranch genera Catriona, Cratena, Hervia, Rizzolia and Trinchesia. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 31(2):52-55.
MacNae, W. (1954). On some eolidacean nudibranchiate molluscs from South Africa. Annals Natal Museum 13(1):1-50, pls. 1-2.
Ortiz, D. M., & Gosliner, T. M. (2008). Anatomical review and preliminary phylogeny of the facelinid nudibranchs (Opisthobranchia : Aeolidina) of the taxon Phyllodesmium Ehrenberg, 1831. Veliger, 50(1), 1–23. ://WOS:000254113000001
Risso Dominguez, C. J. (1964). Notes on the Facelinacea. II. On the systematic position of Hervia serrata Baba, 1949 and Favorinus horridus Macnae, 1954 (Mollusca Nudibranchia). Beaufortia, Series of Miscellaneous Publications, Zoological Museum University of Amsterdam 10(128):222-238.
Rudman, W. B. (1980). Aeolid opisthobranch molluscs (Glaucidae) from the Indian Ocean and the south-west Pacific. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 68: 139-172.
Rudman, W. B., & Willan, R. C. (1998). Opisthobranchia, Chapter 16, Introduction, pp. 915-942. In: Pamela L. Beesley, Graham J. B. Ross, & Alice Wells. Mollusca: the southern synthesis. Fauna of Australia. Vol. 5, part B, pp. i-viii, 565-1234. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.
Trainito, E., & Doneddu, M. (2014). Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo (2a). Il Castello.
Villani, G., & Martínez, E. (1993). Some observations on the opisthobranch fauna from the Fusaro Lake, a brackish-water lagoon near Naples. Bollettino Malacologico 29(5-8):201-209.
Wägele, H., Brughardt, I., Anthes, N., Evertsen, J., Klussmann Kolb, A., & Brodie, G. (2006). Species diversity of opisthobranch molluscs on Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 69:33-59.
Wells, F. E., & Bryce, C. W. (1993). Sea slugs and their relatives of Western Australia. Western Australian Museum, i-viii, 1-184 pp.; ill.
Willan, R. C. (2004). Godiva quadricolor (Barnard, 1927) (Nudibranchia: Facelinidae) spreads into southern Queensland. The Beagle, Records of the Museums & Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 20:31-36.
Willan, R. C. (1987). Phylogenetic systematics and zoogeography of Australian nudibranchs 1; Presence of the aeolid Godiva quadricolor (Barnard) in Western Australia. Journal of the Malacological Society of Australia 8: 71-85.