Doto dunnei

Doto dunnei Lemche, 1976

Doto dunnei, “Depuradora” (L’Escala, Girona), 21/04/2012 by Enric Madrenas

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 dunnei  Lemche, 1976

The specimens of this species can grow up to 25mm in length. The general coloration is yellowish or “cream” color, more intense in the cerata than in the body. Larger animals may have up to 8 pairs of cerata along the body. The head is small with slightly protruding cephalic veil lateral lobes, the coloration is the same as the dorsum. The rhinophores are transparent and very long (3 times the length of the rhinophoric sheath) with a white spotted pigmentation also found in the margins of rhinophoric sheaths. The anal papilla, well developed, is located between the first and second pair of cerata on the right side, with a white spots pigmentation on its margin. The genital opening, accompanied by a small bump is located under the first right cerata. Among its most notable features, apart from its size, are the large cerata with several tubercle concentric rings, with 5-9 tubercles each, that decrease in size from the apex to the base of the cerata. As a unique feature, they could have concentric rings shaped stains around the tubercles (apart from the typical score in the apex of the tubercle), with a more or less intense black-violet coloration. The apical tubercle is large and round. Another very characteristic feature are its well developed pseudobranchs, the largest ever described for this genus, consisting of several relatively large and protruding transparent lamellae, with a secondary pigmentation in the form of white dots (not always). The heart area forms a large bump in the dorsum which, as in the rest of the back and sides, have various shapes and sizes dark brown spots. The secondary coloration pattern is very irregular even within the same individual, there are well developed individuals very depigmented, to almost completely pigmented cerata.

The substrate on which we can find this species is limited to hydrarians of the genus Kirchenpaueria and more specifically to the species K. pinnata (a fact that has also been confirmed on the Catalan coast recordings), which it feeds on, and it spawns on. The spawn measures between 0.5 and 1 cm in diameter, and like in other species of the genus Doto it consists of a whitish wavy ribbon with several double rounds. The egg diameter ranges from 75 to 100 microns being the larger the more mature ones.


  • Doto, from Latin Doto, a sea nymph, from Greek Dōtō
  • Dunnei. After Jimmy Dunne, fish biologist at Galway University

This species is mainly distributed in northern European waters, preferably British Isles, coast of Ireland and the Iberian Peninsula, where it is cited for the Bay of Biscay, Galicia, Portugal and the coast of the Strait of Gibraltar. In the Catalan coast it has been observed on the Costa Brava in the Medes Islands, L’Escala and Tossa de Mar, which means the first records for the species in the Mediterranean Sea.

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

References for the species: Doto dunnei

    Cantabria: Ortea and Urgorri (1978). Galicia: Urgorri and Besteiro (1983, 1984). Portugal: Calado et al. (1999, 2003). Gibraltar: García-Gómez (1983).

    General: Brown & Picton, 1979:8; Hayward, Wigham, & Yonow, 1990:710; Just & Edmunds, 1985:24[P]; Picton & Morrow, 1994:40[P]; Thompson, 1988:134; Thompson & Brown, 1984:30[P]

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


    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 dunnei" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 01/05/2013, Accessed: 18/11/2018 at (

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