Doto pita

Doto pita Er. Marcus, 1955

Doto pita on hydroid @ Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote, Spain by Dennis Rabeling










































Doto pita  Er. Marcus, 1955

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 532765).
Body up to 7 mm. long. The colour of body and cerata is yellowish gray beneath a translucent white epidermis, with brownish spots on the back (missing in some NE Atlantic specimens) and some white spot on the head and cardiac area. The clubs of the rhinophores are smooth, with the base stained in red in Western Atlantic older specimens (but not in Eastern Atlantic ones) and with white spots to the tip. Funnel-shaped, tight and short rhinophoric sheaths whose margin is even and coloured white because of white spots accumulation, Eastern Atlantic specimens have the inside of the sheath pigmented in red continuing the dorsal pigmentation. Cerata along the dorsal margins are setup in similar sized 3-4 pairs, and another less developed pair closer to the tail. No distinct branchial thickenings at the base of cerata. Cerata shape is somewhat jaggy, the greatest width lies above the middle, with a conical tip. Each cera bears a few irregularly scattered, bluntly angled, small conical tubercles that do not form circlets, with characteristic small white spheres inside. Digestive gland inside the cerata may vary from white to cream-orange. The foot is narrow and ends in a pointed tail. The cephalic velum has very reduced lobes. Gonopore located below first right cera, anus right behind but in dorsal position, showing a cylindric anal papilla.

Often found on Padina and Galaxaura sea weeds in the Atlantic coasts of America, found on hydrarians in the Canary Islands. The egg spawn is laid along the stolons of the Sertulariids it feeds on, shaped as a thin cord of white eggs laid in spiral on the hydrozoa.


  • Doto, from Latin Doto, a sea nymph, from Greek Dōtō.
  • Pita. Marcus was not prone to explain the origin of the species he described. However, pita is a fiber obtained from the plant Agave americana and other similar species, used for making cordage and paper.

Described at Island of São Sebastião, Brazil (Marcus, 1955); Ilhabela, Brazil (Marcus, 1957); Frigate Bay, St. Kitts (Marcus & Marcus, 1963); Virginia Key, Miami, Florida (Marcus & Marcus, 1963). Also from Madeira (Wirtz, 1999) and the Canary Islands (Ortea et al., 1999). Records from Japan (Baba, 1971) and Australia (GBIF) probably correspond to a similar but distinct species because D. pita is only known from the Atlantic.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Doto pita
: 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: ★☆☆☆☆
[wpbi_chart type="bar" id="1" height="250" /]

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

More pictures


    Abbott RT. 1974. American seashells. The marine mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific coast of North America. Van Nostrand, New York. 663 pp., 24 pls. [October 1974].
    Baba K. 1971. New record in Japan of Doto (Doto) pita Marcus, 1955, a nudibranch gastropod. Appendix: list of the Dotoidae from Japan. Collecting & Breeding Saishu to Shiiku 33(6):131-132.
    Baba K. 1971. Anatomical studies on three species of Doto (D. bella, D. japonica and D. pita) from Japan (Nudibranchia: Dendronotoidea: Dotoidae). Publications of the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory 19(2/3):73-79, pls. 4-5.
    Baker JL. 2004. Towards a system of ecologically representative marine protected areas in South  Australian Marine bioregions - Technical Report. Prepared for Coast & Marine Conservation Branch,  Department for Environment & Heritage, South Australia. Part 2, 337 pp.
    Ballesteros M, Madrenas E, Pontes M. 2024. OPK - Opistobranquis. Available from
    Cervera JL, Calado G, Gavaia C, et al. 2004. An annotated and updated checklist of the opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from Spain and Portugal (including islands and archipelagos). Boletín Instituto Español de Oceanografía, 20 (1-4): 1-111. L.
    Debelius H, Kuiter RH. 2007. Nudibranchs of the world. Frankfurt: IKAN- Unterwasserarchiv. 360 pp. p.
    Edmunds M, Just H. 1985. Dorid, dendronotid and arminid nudibranchiate Mollusca from Barbados. J. Molluscan Stud. 51(1):52-63.
    Fischer MA. 2006. Opisthobranchs from the Chilean coast, a taxonomic, morphological and  histological study of nudibranch species. 173 p.
    Frank, B. et al. 1998 2014. Doto pita accessed through: on 2014-12-14. Available from
    Garcia FJ, Bertsch H. 2009. Diversity and distribution of the Gastropoda Opisthobranchia from the Atlantic Ocean: A global biogeographic approach. Scientia Marina. 73(1):153–160.
    Imamoto J. 2001 2014. Doto pita accessed through: on 2014-12-14. Available from
    Long SJ. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    Marcus EG. 1961. Opisthobranch mollusks from California. Veliger 3(suppl):1-85, pls. 1-10.
    Marcus E d. BR. 1977. An annotated checklist of the western Atlantic warm water opisthobranchs. J. Molluscan Stud., Suppl 4:1-23.
    Marcus EG. 1955. Opisthobranchia from Brazil. Boletim da Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciencias e Letras, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Zoology, 207, 20:89-261, pls. 1-30.
    Marcus Er. 1957. On opisthobranchia from Brazil 2. Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Zoology) 43(292): 390-486.
    Marcus E d. BR, Marcus EG. 1963. Opisthobranchs from the Lesser Antilles. Studies on the Fauna of Curacao and other Caribbean Islands 19(79):1-76.
    Marcus Er., Marcus Ev. 1960. Opisthobranchs from American Atlantic warm waters. Bull. Mar. Sci. 10(2):129-203.
    Marcus E d. BR, Marcus EG. 1964. Verzeichnis der euthyneuren Meeresschneken Brasiliens. Beitrage zur Neotropischen Fauna 3(3):195-206.
    Marcus E d. BR, Marcus EG. 1967. American opisthobranch mollusks Part I, Tropical American opisthobranchs. Studies in Tropical Oceanography, Miami 6(1-2):vii + 1-256, 1 pl.
    McDonald G. 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia. 2nd Online Edition, Annotated. 1072 pp  Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. Available from
    McDonald GR, Nybakken JW. 1999. A worldwide review of the food of nudibranch mollusks. II The suborder Dendronotacea. A list of the worldwide food habits of nudibranchs. The Veliger.(42):62–66.
    Moro L, Martín Esquivel JL, Garrido Sanahuja MJ, et al. 2003. Lista de especies marinas de Canarias (algas, hongos, plantas y animales). Consejería de Política Territorial y Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Canarias. 248 p.
    Ono A. 2004. Opisthobranchs of Ryukyu Islands. Rutles Inc., Japan.
    Ortea J. 2001. El género Doto Oken, 1815 (Mollusca: Nudibranchia) en el mar Caribe: Historia natural y descripción de nuevas especies. Avicennia Suppl. 3 : 1-46.
    Ortea J, Urgorri V. 1978. El género Doto Oken, 1815 en el Norte y Noroeste de Espana. Boletín de la Estación Central de Ecología ICONA 7 (14): 73-92.
    Ortea JA, Moro L, Espinosa J, et al. 1999. Doto pita Marcus, 1955 (Nudibranchia: Dendronotoidea), un nuevo Opistobranquio anfiatlántico. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias 11(3-4):75-82.
    Ortea J, L. Moro MC, Bacallado JJ. 2003. Resultados Científicos del proyecto “Macaronesia 2000” Chinijo-2002: Moluscos Opistobranquios. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias 14 (3-4): 165-180.
    Ortea JA, Moro L, Bacallado JJ, et al. 2001. Catálogo actualizado de los Moluscos Opistobranquios de las Islas Canarias. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias. 12(3–4):105–136.
    Powell AWB. 1979. New Zealand Mollusca. Marine, Land and Freshwater Shells. Collins, Auckland, xiv. 500 p.
    Rios EC. 1975. Brazilian marine mollusks iconography, 331 pp, 91 pls. Fundacao Universidade do Rio Grande, Centro de Ciencias do Mar, Museu Oceanografico.
    Rudman W.B. et al. 1998 2010. Doto pita accessed through: Sea Slug Forum on 2014-12-14. Available from
    Spencer HG, Willan RC. 1996. The Marine Fauna of New Zealand: Index to the Fauna: 3. Mollusca. New Zealand Oceanographic Institute Memoir 105. ISBN 0-478 08351-3: 125pp.
    Suzuki K. 2000. Opisthobranchs of Izu Peninsula. TBS, Tokyo 184p.; 500+ clr. photos.
    Swennen C. 1961. On a collection of Opisthobranchia from Turkey. Zoologische Mededelingen, Leiden 38 (3): 41-75.
    Thompson TE. 1972. Eastern Australian Dendronotoidea (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia). Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 51(1):63-77.
    Turgeon D, Quinn JF, Bogan AE, et al. 1998. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: mollusks. 2nd ed. American Fisheries Society Special Publication, 26.
    Valdés A, Hamann J, Behrens DW, et al. 2006. Caribbean sea slugs: a field guide to the opisthobranch mollusks from the tropical northwestern Atlantic. Washington: Sea Challengers Natural History Books. 289 pp.
    Willan RC. 1987. Description of a new aeolid nudibranch (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia) belonging to the genus Phidiana. N.Z. J. Zool. 14(3):409-417.
    Willan RC, Morton J. 1984. Marine Molluscs, Part 2; Opisthobranchia. University of Auckland, Leigh Marine Laboratory. Auckland, New Zealand: 106 pp.
    WoRMS Editorial Board. 2023. World Register of Marine Species. WoRMS. Available from

    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:

Pontes, Miquel (2023) "Doto pita" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 06/03/2021. Accessed: 22/04/2024. Available at (

To copy this cite click on the right button.