Doto cervicenigra

Doto cervicenigra Ortea & Bouchet, 1989

Doto cervicenigra @ Sta. Maria al Bagno, Lecce, Italy 6/04/2016 by Cataldo Licchelli

Class: Gastropoda  Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia  J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura  Spengel, 1881
Clade: Nudipleura  Wägele & Willan, 2000
Order: Nudibranchia  Cuvier, 1817
Suborder: Dexiarchia  Schrödl, Wägele & Willan, 2001
Infraorder: Cladobranchia Willan and Morton, 1984
Parvorder: [unassigned] Cladobranchia Willan & Morton, 1984
Family: Dotidae  J.E. Gray, 1853
Genus: Doto  Oken, 1815
Species: Doto cervicenigra Ortea & Bouchet, 1989

This is a small animal as it is about 5 mm long. The body is semitransparent, whitish, with a remarkable black spot on the dorsal part of the head that goes backwards between the rhinophores, and some stains of the same color on the dorsum and sides body. The rhinophores have more than twice the height of the rhinophoric sheath, they have purplish  black spots in the lower half and show a large white spot at the tip. The edge of the rhinophoric sheath is dotted with white spots. There are 6 pairs of cerata, where the largest have two groups of globulous, almost spherical, tubercles, specially the apical tubercle, that have a subcutaneous purplish black spot, surrounded by white opaque pigment can even mask the black point. But for the subapical group, no tubercles are developed on the inner side of the cerata, nor pseudobranchs could be observed. The hazel coloured digestive gland is visible by transparency in the cerata. The gonad is visible by transparency between the 2nd and 3rd group of papillae, while the anal papilla is between the 1st and 2nd group on the right side of the body.

Very little is known about the biology of this species that, like others of the same genus, is closely associated with pennate hydrozoans of the genus Aglaophenia (A. kirkenpaueri, A. pluma, A. tubiformis) or Lytocarpia (L. myriophyllum). These animals keep a perfect mimicry on the hydrozoans so they are very difficult to observe with the naked eye. The existence of specimens in the colonies can be guessed when spawns are observed on them. The specimen on which this species was described was collected by algal scraping in about 5 meters of water at Calvi (Corsica, France).


  • Doto, from Latin Doto, a sea nymph, from Greek Dōtō
  • Cervicenigra, from Latin “Cervix”, neck/head and “nigra”, from Latin “niger”, black, dark, in reference to the dark blotch of the cephalic region.

It is known to be present in the western Mediterranean. Apart from the original description in Calvi (Corsica, France) it has also been reported in the Gulf of Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy), in Porto Cesáreo (Lecce, Italy) and in Toretó Island (Mallorca, Spain).

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


    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:

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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Doto cervicenigra" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 16/09/2015, Accessed: 13/12/2018 at (

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