Eubranchus capellinii

Eubranchus capellinii (Trinchese, 1879)

Eubranchus capellinii reproduced from "Æolididae e famiglie affini del porto di Genova" (1877-1879) plate XXV by Salvatore Trinchese

Class: Gastropoda  Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia  J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura  Spengel, 1881
Superorder: Nudipleura  Wägele & Willan, 2000
Order: Nudibranchia  Cuvier, 1817
Suborder: Dexiarchia  Schrödl, Wägele & Willan, 2001
Infraorder: Cladobranchia  Willan & Morton, 1984
Parvorder: Aeolidida  Odhner, 1934
Superfamily: Fionoidea  J.E. Gray, 1857
Family: Eubranchidae  Odhner, 1934
Genus: Eubranchus  Forbes, 1838
Species: Eubranchus capellinii (Trinchese, 1879)

Taxonomic note: Since the middle of the s. XX, E. capellinii has been considered a synonymous species of E. doriae (Edmunds & Kress, 1969, Thompson & Brown, 1984, Thompson, 1988, Picton & Morrow, 1994; Caballer, 2002) or even confused with other species of the genus such as Eubranchus cingulatus (Edmunds & Kress, 1969; Ortea, 1978; Schmekel & Portmann, 1982). However, the original description of E. capellinii (as Tergipes capellinii) and the accompanying color plate (Trinchese, 1879) are clear and illustrative enough to differentiate it from the rest of the Atlantic species of the genus. For this reason Caballer, Ortea & Canteras (2010), using specimens captured in Cantabria, the Algarve coast (Portugal) and the Murcian coast (Spanish Mediterranean), propose to reinstate the species as valid and performed a complete morphological and anatomical study (genitalia, radula and jaws).


  • Capellinia capellinii (Trinchese, 1879)
  • Tergipes capellinii Trinchese, 1879 (original)

The specimens of this species can reach a size of 16 mm (size of the specimens of the original description by Trinchese) but the normal of these animals is 4-5 mm in length. The general color of the body is whitish and semitransparent, with brownish or slightly greenish spots throughout the body, including oral tentacles, rhinophores and cerata. Among the rhinophores and the first group of cerata there is a typical trapezoidal spot of the same color, more or less apparent according to the size of the animals. There are also elongated stains of this color on both sides of the back and between the bases of the cerata. These elongated spots and the trapezoidal dorsal patch are characteristic of E. capellinii and differentiate it from the other species of the genus Eubranchus that have a similar morphology and size. The oral tentacles and the rhinophores are relatively short, with brown spots forming a transverse band and have a white apex. There are up to 7 groups of cerata on each side of the dorsum, with 3-4 cerata in the first group and only one in the final groups. The two frontmost groups are laid symmetrically on each side while the third group and others they are alternated from side to side. The cerata are semitransparent and have 2 to 3 circles of small tubercles. The digestive gland inside may be whitish, yellowish or brown in the largest specimens and fills much of the interior of the cerata. There are usually brown spots on the surface of the cerata and 1-2 brown subapical bands. The anus is located in a prominent white papilla in the right dorsolateral position between the first and second group of cerates behind the cardiac area. The genital pore is located right below the first group of right cerata. The tip of the foot (tail) is rounded.

The specimens of this species usually live in colonies of hydrozoans such as Kirchenpaueria pinnata (Edmunds & Kress, 1969, cited as E. doriae), Plumularia setacea (Thompson & Brown, 1984, cited as E. doriae) or Obelia geniculata (Schmekel & Portmann , 1982, cited as E. cingulatus), of those that possibly feed and with which they maintain a quite cryptic coloration. Schmekel & Portmann (1984, as E. cingulatus) indicated that the spawn is a single-turn ribbon containing white 90 microns eggs.


  • Capellinii. In honor to Prof. Giovanni Capellini, (1833-1922), Italian paleontologyst who was Rector Magnificus of the University of Bologna during 1888, when it celebrated its 800 years of history.

Accepting the opinion of Caballer, Ortea & Canteras (2010) that the reports of E. doriae and E. cingulatus probably correspond to E. capellinii. This species is distributed from the British Isles, the Atlantic coasts of the Iberian Peninsula, the Iberian Mediterranean and the coast of Naples. It is possible that some of the reports of Eubranchus doriae from the Catalan coasts (Ballesteros et al., 2016) refer to E. capellinii.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Eubranchus capellinii
: 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 observation probability for Eubranchus capellinii based on our own records.

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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Caballer, Manuel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Eubranchus capellinii" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 28/02/2017, Accessed: 22/01/2018 at (

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