Pruvotfolia pselliotes

Pruvotfolia pselliotes (Labbé, 1923)

Pruvotfolia pselliotes @ Split (Croatia) 0.5m by Jakov Prkić










































Pruvotfolia pselliotes  (Labbé, 1923)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139919).

  • Acanthopsole pselliotes Labbé, 1923
  • Facelina faurei Barnard, 1927
  • Rolandia hispanica Pruvot-Fol, 1951
  • Facelina pselliotes (Labbé, 1923)
  • Phidiana pselliotes (Labbé, 1923)

This aeolidacean is relatively large, with a maximum recorded length of 35mm at rest and up to 50mm extended. The body is translucent, and may be of any shade from white to yellowish to brown but it is dotted with multiple opaque white dots, more or less dense depending on the specimens. The oral palps are long and thin, and the animal moves them constantly when active, while keeping them raised forming an “S” when at rest. The rhinophores are long, cylindrical, tappered, and have about thirty lamellae. The eyes are in dorsal position, right behind the rhinophores. It has a large quantity of cerata arranged in oblique rows, which are divided into seven groups laid in a triangular arrangement along the back, but only the first group can be discerned from the rest, since they are separated by the pericardial area. The number of cerata per group gradually decreases towards the tail: it has approximately 60 cerata in the first group, 30 in the second, and 15, 8, 4, 2 and 1 respectively. The cerata located towards the center of the dorsum are very long (up to 20mm) and are progressively reduced in length as their position moves away to the sides, where they can measure only 1mm. The cerata contain an expansion of the brown digestive gland, and at the tip they have a white cnidosac. The oral palps, the rhinophores and the cerata have two opaque brown rings, with wavy margins, on a lighter and translucent background. The anterior part of the foot has two relatively long tentacles that bend backwards when the animal is in motion. The back of the foot forms a relatively long tail behind the last group of cerata. The genital orifice is behind the first group of cerata on the right side of the body, and is characterized by having a genital leaf, fleshy and non-retractable and a group of special appendages, very small and difficult to observe “de visu”, arranged in two rows that form an angle and that play an active role during copulation.

Lives on rocky bottoms, from the intertidal, even in areas beaten by the swell, down to about 25 meters deep. It feeds voraciously from hydrarians of the genera: Obelia, Kirchenpaueria, Tubularia or Sertularia. Cases of cannibalism have been documented if their food is scarce. The copulation is characteristic of this species, two individuals approach showing their right side to each other, then the fleshy genital leaf and the two papillae adjacent to the genital opening extend between 20 and 30mm. perpendicular to the body, and maintain contact with the couple while the genital leaves form a kind of channel to guide the penis to the genital opening. During the intercourse, the cerata of both animals stretch, contract and move in all directions in a process that lasts about 15 minutes. The spawn takes place 48 hours later in the form of a thin regular ribbon, wound in a spiral of about 20 or 30mm in diameter containing between 5,000 and 10,000 eggs. When they hatch, the eggs turn into pelagic larvae or “veliger”. Like many other opisthobranchs it is basically nocturnal, so during the day it is usually found under stones or in deep crevices. Escapes actively from light. When the animal is calmed the cerata are somewhat curved towards the center of the body, but if it is disturbed, they become straightened like a hedgehog, while moving them actively as a defense mechanism. If the threat is important, the animal can autotomize the cerata to confuse the predators.


  • Pruvotfolia. In honor of Dr. Alice Pruvot-Fol (1873–1972), a French opisthobranch malacologist, author of many new species, mostly described on the basis of preserved animals. She continued working and naming new species until late in her life, in 1962, when she was 89 years old, she named Phyllidia pulitzeri.
  • Pselliotes. From Greek “pséllion”, bracelet, ring. Probably because of the brown rings in palps and rhinophores.

From Cornwall in the south of England to the Atlantic shores of Morocco and Canary Islands (Ortea & Urgorri, 1981), and in the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to Yassiada (Turkey), with reports from Malta and Croatia. Frequent species in some rocky bottoms of the basin of Arcachon (France). Ortea & Urgorri (1981) mentioned it for the first time in Iberian waters in Oviñana (Asturias) and in Pedras Negras (Pontevedra, Galicia). It has been later mentioned in all the Iberian coasts: Portugal, Andalucia, Levante and Catalonia.

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

References for the species: Pruvotfolia pselliotes

    Galicia: Ortea (1977c), Ortea and Urgorri (1981b), Urgorri and Besteiro (1983). Portugal: García-Gómez et al. (1991), Calado et al. (1999, 2003). Andalucía (Atl.): Cervera and García (1986). Gibraltar: García-Gómez (1983, 2002). Andalucía (Med.): Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a). Levante: Templado et al. (2002). Catalunya: Pruvot-Fol (1954, citada como Rolandia hispanica). Canarias: Moro et al. (1995, 2003), Ortea et al. (2001).

    General: Gosliner, 1987b:121[P]; Ortea & Urgorri, 1981a:150; Tardy, 1969:327

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

Similar species
Facelina annulicornis. Rhinophores completely covered by lamellae, with a brown subapical band. Long cerata. Body covered with larger white dots.


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

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Pruvotfolia pselliotes based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas (2021) "Pruvotfolia pselliotes" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 05/10/2013. Accessed: 07/03/2021. Available at (

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