Doto cervicenigra

Doto cervicenigra Ortea & Bouchet, 1989

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










































Doto cervicenigra  Ortea & Bouchet, 1989

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139628).
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). In Catalonia it has been found from Blanes to L’Escala.

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

Similar species
Doto rosea has the ceratal tubercles without apical spots and the body without black stains.


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

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Doto cervicenigra based on our own records.



More pictures


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    Ballesteros M, Madrenas E, Pontes M. 2023. OPK - Opistobranquis. Available from
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    Long SJ. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
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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) "Doto cervicenigra" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 16/09/2015. Accessed: 04/03/2024. Available at (

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