Godiva quadricolor

Godiva quadricolor (Barnard, 1927)

Godiva quadricolor @ Cala Egos, Mallorca by Tià Pons










































Godiva quadricolor  (Barnard, 1927)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 225518).

  • Hervia quadricolor Barnard, 1927

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.

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.

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 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
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions

Similar species
Dondice banyulensis, with a larger body and an orange cerata, without the blue or yellow bands.


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

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Godiva quadricolor based on our own records.



More pictures


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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, M., Madrenas, E. & Pontes, M. (2023) "Godiva quadricolor" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 15/10/2013. Accessed: 27/02/2024. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/?p=11388)

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