Amphorina farrani

Amphorina farrani (Alder & Hancock, 1844)

Amphorina farrani by Pontes, Miquel










































Amphorina farrani  (Alder & Hancock, 1844)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 1424909).

  • Eolis farrani Alder & Hancock, 1844: 164–165; Alder & Hancock, 1845: fam 3, pl. 35.
  • Galvina farrani (Alder & Hancock, 1844): Bergh 1873: 622; Colgan 1914: 183–185.
  • Cavolina farrani (Alder & Hancock, 1844): Gray J.E. 1857: 226.
  • Eubranchus farrani (Alder & Hancock, 1844): O’Donoghue 1926: 128.
  • Eubranchus farrani sensu Edmunds & Kress, 1969: forms A & B only: 890, fig. 2 A, B.
  • Amphorina farrani (Alder & Hancock, 1844): Martynov 1998: 775.
  • Amphorina alberti Quatrefages, 1844: 146–151, pl. 3, fig. 5, pl. 4, fig. 3.
  • Aeolis adelaidae Thompson, 1860: 49.
  • Eolis robertianae Mc’Intosh, 1865: 393.
  • Eolis tricolor sensu Friele and Hansen 1876, non Forbes 1838.
  • Non Amphorina alberti sensu Trinchese 1877–1879 and auctt. (= Trinchesia spp.)
  • Non all forms of Eubranchus farrani sensu Edmunds & Kress, 1969 (several species)
  • Non Eubranchus farrani sensu Schmekel & Portmann 1982: 241–243, taf. 14, Fig.
    1–3, abb. 7.78 (= Amphorina andra sp. nov. + mixture of species)

Narrow body that could measure more than 20 mm in length, but in most cases the specimens are smaller, of 10 to 15 mm. Body color is very variable, there are specimens with a completely pale body and cerata with small orange-yellow pigment spots, that never have a spot or stripe on the tail. Other specimens have distinct orange or yellow stains all along the body, and with a broad subapical orange or yellow ring on each cera, sometimes with a dark brown body colour, and always have an orange or yellow spot or stripe on the tip of the tail. No specimens with blackish spots have been observed, neither with an uniformly bright orange body. Smooth rhinophores, 1.5-2 times longer than the oral tentacles, the distal part of both rhinophores and oral tentacles is covered with orange pigment and scattered small white dots without a light pinkish pigment ring. Cerata relatively long and quite swollen, forming 7-8 groups up to 5 cerata each, in increasing numbers anteriorly and decreasing posteriorly towards the tail. The heart region is located between the second cerata group. The anal opening is located in a small papilla placed right behind and slightly to the right of the cardiac area. The genital opening is located below and slightly behind the first right group of cerata. The foot  is narrow and the anterior part shows no propodial palps or foot corners.

This species is usually found in shallow littoral bottoms, from 0.5 to 20m., where hydrozoans grow on algae as epibionts. A. farrani feeds on small hydrarians like Obelia geniculata growing on kelp, in Codium fragile and other algae or mussel shells. It can also be located under stones where hydrarians grow. The spawn is a small ribbon coiled in one turn, or one turn and half, with white or slightly pink eggs of about 90 microns (Schmekel & Portmann, 1982).


  • Farrani = in honor of Dr. G.P. Farran of Dublín, naturalyst and shell collector who helped in the Alder & Hancock sampling campaign in the Irish shores in 1843, where the type specimen used to describe the species was collected.

This species has been cited in Norway, the British Isles, Atlantic coasts of France and the English Channel, the Iberian Peninsula, the Canary islands, Açores and around the Mediterranean. In the Iberian Peninsula shores it has been reported in all coastal areas. In the Catalan coast it has been observed in different localities as Cadaques, L’Escala, Tossa de Mar, Lloret de Mar, Blanes and Cubelles.

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

References for the species: Amphorina farrani

    Galicia: Urgorri and Besteiro (1983, 1984), Rolán (1983). Portugal: García-Gómez et al. (1991), Calado et al. (1999, 2003). Andalucía (Atl.): Cervera and García-Gómez (1986). Gibraltar: García-Gómez et al. (1989). Andalucía (Med.): Templado, Talavera and Murillo (1987), Templado, Luque and Moreno (1988), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a), Ocaña et al. (2000). Levante: Templado (1982b, 1983, 1984). Catalunya: Ros (1975, 1978b, citada como E. cf. farrani), Ballesteros (1980, 1984b, 1985), Pereira & Ballesteros (1982), Domènech et al. (2002). Canarias: Ortea et al. (2001), Moro et al. (2003), Wirtz and Debelius (2003). Azores: Fontes, Tempera and Wirtz (2001).

    General: Barletta, 1981:105; Brown & Picton, 1979:24; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi-Savelli, 1990:175[P]; Edmunds, 1969:[P]; Edmunds & Kress, 1969:889; Hayward, Wigham, & Yonow, 1990:721; Heppell, 1964a:413; Hunnam & Brown, 1975:156; Just & Edmunds, 1985:106, 108[P]; O'Donoghue, 1929:749; Picton & Morrow, 1994:116[P]; Riedl, 1983:330; Schmekel, 1970:159; Schmekel & Portmann, 1982:241[P]; Thompson, 1988:294; Thompson & Brown, 1976:166; 1984:134[P]

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

Similar species
To separate this species from the others of the genus some aspects must be taken into account:

  • The presence of big bright yellow-orange spots on the dorsum, absent in A.andra.
  • Absence of forms with black background or uniform yellow coloration, typical of A.andra.
  • In specimens with these spots on dorsum and cerata, a distinct yellow-orange spot or stripe on the tail is always present, absent in A.andra, that could have a white line instead.
  • Pale specimens of A.farrani have no spot or stripe on the tail tip.
  • Larger size of dorsal spots (in spotted forms) than A.pallida.
  • Absence of small orange or brown spots on cerata, present in some A.pallida.
  • There is no light pinkish subapical ring on cerata, typical of A.viriola.
  • There is no punctuated white line on edge of foot, typical of A.linensis.
  • Cerata are commonly moderately swollen but without a distinctly attenuated apex, typical of A.linensis.
  • The digestive gland inside the cerata is relatively broad without distinct short branches.
  • They have up to four anterior rows of cerata.


    Western Mediterranean:2 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 Amphorina farrani based on our own records.

More pictures


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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2021) "Amphorina farrani" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 16/05/2012. Accessed: 19/01/2021. Available at (

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