Piseinotecus sphaeriferus

Piseinotecus sphaeriferus (Schmekel, 1965)

Piseinotecus sphaeriferus @Azoia, Setúbal, Portugal 27-08-2011 by João Pedro Silva










































Piseinotecus sphaeriferus  (Schmekel, 1965)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 140785).

  • Calmella sphaerifera Schmekel, 1965

This is a small aeolidacean that rarely exceeds 5-6 mm in length. His body is thin, semitransparent, at times with a yellow or pink shade. Oral tentacles are relatively short compared to the rhinophores, which are very long, thin and smooth. The oral tentacles and rhinophores are semitransparent like the body, but with numerous thick white scores. These white scores are also present along the back. There are 4-5 groups of cerata on each side of the body. The cerata from each group come from a common stalk or base. The cerata are thin and long, with somewhat sharpened tips and the soft brown digestive gland visible by transparency; at the end of cerata there is a clearly visible cnidosac. At the base of each cerata there is usually a greenish spherical structure that Schmekel (1965) attributed to a glandular portion of the hepatic diverticulum located inside each cerata. Sometimes this green sphere, which this species is named for, is not visible, which could be related to feeding. The foot is narrow and has two short propodials palps at its front. The tail is long and narrow, it is semi-transparent and its margin is usually pigmented opaque white.

This small aeolidacean lives among colonies of epibiont hydroids that grow on different species of algae and seagrass (Ulva, Cymodocea, Posidonia oceanica). Mavric et al. (2012) found it in the Adriatic Sea between scyphopolyps of Aurelia aurita. Schmekel (1965) indicates that it feeds hydrozoan polyps of the genus Obelia. The spawn is a coiled narrow ribbon with white eggs of about 45 microns in diameter.


  • Piseinotecus means “I stepped on Teco.” Teco was a dog belonging to Ernst and Eveline Marcus. Apparently Prof. Diva Diniz Corrêa, friend of the family, unadvertedly stepped on the dog and while the Marcuses were looking for a new generic name she said in Portuguese: “Pisei”=I stteped, “no”=onto, “Tecus”=the dog’s name. Later on that name became also a family name: Piseinotecidae (ref:Curious Taxonomy and Marcus, Ev. 1987).
  • Sphaeriferus. From Latin “Sphaera”, ball, sphere, globe, orb + “fera”, to carry, to transport, probably in reference to the peculiar emerald green “balls” located at the base of the cerata.

This little-known species has only been recorded so far in the islands of Nisida and Procida (type localities for this species) in the Gulf of Naples, in the Canary Islands (Ortea et al. 2003), Ghana (Edmunds, 1977 ), on the Adriatic coast of Slovenia (Mavric et al. 2012) and in Catalonia (Spain). There is a recent report in the Catalan coast, at Punta del Romaní (L’Escala, Costa Brava) (GROC, 2014), and there is also an ancient unpublished observation at Cala Canyelles (Ballesteros, pers.obs. 1981).

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

Similar species
It cannot be confused with any other species. The greenish spherical vesicles at the base of the cerata allow it to be easily identified.


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

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Piseinotecus sphaeriferus based on our own records.

More pictures


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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, M., Madrenas, E. & Pontes, M. (2023) "Piseinotecus sphaeriferus" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 21/03/2015. Accessed: 23/05/2024. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/?p=18741)

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