Tritonia callogorgiae

Tritonia callogorgiae  Chimienti, Furfaro & Taviani, 2020

Tritonia callogorgiae by Flavio Oliva













































Tritonia callogorgiae  Chimienti, Furfaro & Taviani, 2020

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 1467867).
Live specimens can measure up to 120 mm long. The body is thin with a background color ranging from yellow to reddish orange. The body is covered with white papillae scattered from veil to tail. The oral (or frontal) veil is a flattened contractile projection characterized by six finger-like processes, three on each side. The rhinophores are retractable and are formed by an central process surrounded by unipinnate white branches, protected by a calyx-shaped sheath with the same color pattern as the body. The specimens have 4 to 5 elongated gills on each side of the body, where they can be arranged asymmetrically. The basal part of the gills has the same coloration as the body, with the distal end of a translucent white color and divided into two main branches that, in turn, divide into two or three smaller branches, although some do not branch. The foot has the same coloring pattern as the body, it is elongated, narrow and with a tappered rear end.

The Tritoniidae are a family of nudibranchs that have a very particular relationship with certain species of alcyonaceans and sea plumes, on which they feed, live and reproduce. A few species can feed on zoantaries. T. callogorgiae is the first Mediterranean Tritonia to live in deep water and the only one associated with the gorgonian Callogorgia verticillata. All the specimens observed were found exclusively on C. verticillata and, in addition, the analysis of the stomach contents revealed the presence of numerous sclerites, fragments of apical axes and partially digested polyps of C. verticillata. The specimens can spend some time in the mud in search of a new colony to live or to reproduce, hence it is intuited that a habitat in good condition allows better ensuring the continuity of the species.


  • Callogorgiae. The specific name identifies the association of this new species with the gorgonian Callogorgia verticillata

The type locality is the southern Adriatic Sea (Mediterranean Sea), about 30 miles off the coast of the city of Bar, in Montenegro. The specimens that have served to describe the species were found between 420 and 426 m deep on January 2, 2013. In any case, this species had already been mentioned before as Nudibranchia, Tritoniidae the Balearic Sea (Gulf of Lion, canyon Sicié) at 261 m depth (Fabri et al., 2013) and in the Tyrrhenian Sea (Gulf of Lamezia) between 119 and 124 m depth (Bo et al. 2011), but also as Marionia blainvillea in the South Tyrrhenian (Pontine Islands, Palmarola seamount) between 194 and 220 m depth (Ingrassia et al., 2015) and in the Sicily Channel to the south of Malta, in a place known as Malta Trough (Knittweis et al., 2019). These records are based on external morphological characteristics observed “in vivo” by ROV. It is believed that the species is present throughout the Mediterranean, always associated with C. verticillata, and it cannot be excluded that its area of ​​distribution also includes part of the North Atlantic, where this gorgonian is also present.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Tritonia callogorgiae
: 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: ☆☆☆☆☆

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Tritonia callogorgiae based on our own records.

More pictures


    Bo, M., G. Bavestrello, S. Canese, M. Giusti, M. Angiolillo, C. Cerrano, E. Salvati, and S. Greco. 2011. Coral assemblage off the Calabrian Coast (South Italy) with new  observations on living colonies of Antipathes dichotoma. Italian Journal of Zoology, 78:2, 231-242.
    Chimienti, G., L. Angeletti, G. Furfaro, S. Canese, and M. Taviani. 2020. Habitat, morphology and trophism of Tritonia callogorgiae sp. nov., a large nudibranch inhabiting Callogorgia verticillata forests in the Mediterranean Sea. Deep Sea Research Part I Oceanographic Research Papers.
    Fabri, M. C., L. Pedel, L. Beuck, F. Galgani, D. Hebbeln, and A. Freiwald. 2013. Megafauna of vulnerable marine ecosystems in French mediterranean submarine canyons: Spatial distribution and anthropogenic impacts. Deep-Sea Research II: Topical Studies in Oceanography.
    Ingrassia, M., L. Macelloni, A. Bosman, F. L. Chiocci, C. Cerrano, and E. Martorelli. 2015. Black coral (Anthozoa, Antipatharia) forest near the western Pontine Islands (Tyrrhenian Sea). Marine Biodiversity 46: 285-290.
    Knittweis, L., J. Evans, R. Aguilar, H. Álvarez, J. A. Borg, S. García, and P. J. Schembri. 2019. Recent Discoveries of Extensive Cold-Water Coral Assemblages in Maltese Waters. In Mediterranean Cold-Water Corals: Past, Present and Future, Coral Reefs of the World. Springer Nature.

    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) "Tritonia callogorgiae" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 08/11/2020. Accessed: 27/02/2024. Available at (

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