Calmella gaditana (Cervera, Garcia-Gomez, & Garcia, 1987)
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 & Morton, 1984
Parvorder: Aeolidida Odhner, 1934
Superfamily: Flabellinoidea Bergh, 1889
Family: Flabellinidae Bergh, 1889
Genus: Calmella Eliot, 1910
Species: Calmella gaditana (Cervera, Garcia-Gomez, & Garcia, 1987)
Taxonomic note: The classification of the Flabellinidae had remained fairly stable until in 2017 a series of works appeared (Furfaro et al., 2017; Korshunova et al., 2017) that intended to clarify the status of the Flabellinidae family. The main objective of the paper by Furfaro et al. was to molecularly characterize the Mediterranean species while the paper by Korshunova et al. wanted to delve into the phylogenetic relationships between various members of the Flabellinidae family and the other families of aeolidaceans.
Both works were based on the combination of molecular and morphological techniques and, in fact, do not offer very different results, but differ on the size and origin of the studied samples and, mainly, on the interpretation of the results. After the appearance of the paper by Furfaro et al., many Mediterranean species of the genera Calmella, Flabellina and Piseinotecus were grouped under the common genusFlabellina, but had certain problems with some species that did not fit well with the proposed classification (e.g,Flabellina babai) , discovered that the Mediterranean and Atlantic populations ofFlabellina ischitana correspond to two different cryptic species, and noted the problems of the cryptic group formed by Calmella cavolini / Flabellina confusa / Piseinotecus gaditanus, indicating the need for further studies to clarify their status.
Curiously, these studies were being carried out practically in parallel by the group of Korshunova et al. but on a much wider sample of species that included specimens from the Arctic, North Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. This second paper confirms the polyphily of the family Flabellinidae, but the interpretation of these results becomes a real revolution for the taxonomy of the aeolidaceans, especially for the family Flabellinidae.
Both papers show that there are two well differentiated clades (groups) in the Flabellinidae: species like Coryphella pedata and similars, with cerata that come directly from the back, and species like Flabellina affinis and similars, with cerata of each group coming from a stalk or pod. Although Furfaro et al. consider the species of both clades belonging to the genusFlabellina within the family Flabellinidae, Korshunova et al. distinguishes two families: Coryphellidae and Flabellinidae sensu stricto, also creating many different genera in these families to include the species they study. Its taxonomic proposal, curiously, solves the problems found by Furfaro et al.
In a way, both papers complement to each other, although in the paper by Korshunova et al. it is evident the lack of studies on tropical flabellinid species and those from southern America and Africa, so the subject has not been settled. The proposal to create new genera to collect small groups of species, instead of multispecific genera, seems to be the trend in some of the phylogenetic works of recent years. We hope to see new papers expanding the knowledge on the aeolidaceans soon. A detailed discussion of this exciting controversy can be found at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/flabellinidae/).
- Flabellina confusa Gonzalez-Duarte, Cervera & Poddubetskaia, 2008
- Flabellina gaditana (Cervera, García-Gómez & García, 1987)
- Piseinotecus gaditanus Cervera, García-Gómez & García, 1987 (original)
The maximum length of the species is 11 mm, although in general the specimens measure between 5 and 8 mm in length. The body is elongated and narrow, white hyaline with two reddish areas very apparent on the head that correspond to the jaws seen by transparency. Oral tentacles and rhinophores also white hyaline but may have some opaque white spots near their end. The rhinophores are smooth. There are 5 to 7 groups of ceratas on each side of the body, which contain up to 17 ceratas in the oldest group of the largest specimens, in the other groups the number of ceratas decreases towards the tail. The ceratas of each group come out of a common basal peduncle. The ceratas are relatively short and somewhat fusiform, in their interior the digestive gland of reddish or dark brown color; in the ceratas there are numerous opaque and irregular white spots that form something of relief on the surface of the cerata. The apex of the cerata is white hyaline. The propodial tentacles are short and hooked.
The specimens from Cádiz live under stones in the intertidal zone while those from Arcachon were collected in the infralittoral, up to 14 m deep. In Catalonia, it is found in rocky walls with low light and abundance of algae and hydrozoans. The spawn is a corrugated cord about 5 mm long and 0.15 mm wide with white eggs inside oval capsules (Cervera et al., 1986), which is generally deposited on hydrate colonies such as Eudendrium (González-Duarte et al. 2008).
- Calmella. In 1910 Eliot creates the genus Calmella from the genus name Calma, of which this word is diminutive. According to the Celtic historian Peter Berresford Ellis, Calma is one of the sons of Carmán, a Greek warrior goddess who devastated Ireland with her three ferocious sons: Calma (Brave), Dubh (Black) and Olc (Evil). Eventually they were defeated by the Tuatha Dé Danaan, after which Carmán died in an unpleasant way.
- Gaditana. From Latin “Gades”, Roman colony that became the actual city of Cádiz (Spain). The first specimen of the species was described on the coast of Cádiz.
This species is known from the coasts of Cádiz (SW Spain), Portugal, Canarias (Cervera et al., 2004), the Balearic Islands, the Bay of Arcachon (González-Duarte et al., 2008) and in the Cape Verde Archipelago (Ortea et al., 1993). The only citations for the Mediterranean Sea correspond to the observations made in different locations of the catalan Costa Brava (NE Spain), where it is relatively abundant (Ballesteros et al., 2016).
| : OBIS|
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
| : OPK|
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions
References for the species: Calmella gaditana
- Portugal: García-Gómez et al. (1991), Calado et al. (2003).
Andalucía (Atl.): Cervera and García-Gómez (1986, as Calmella sp.), Cervera, García-Gómez and García (1987), Templado et al. (1993a).
Canarias: Ortea et al. (2003).
Sources: Cervera et al., 2004, Ballesteros, 2007 & 2016, McDonald, 2006 and other sources.
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