Flabellina babai

Flabellina babai (Schmekel, 1972)

Flabellina babai by Enric Madrenas

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: Flabellina  Voigt, 1834
Species: Flabellina babai  Schmekel, 1972

Specimens of this conspicuous species can reach 40 mm in length. The body color is translucent white, with some blue iridescence on the back, in the cerata and oral palps. In some animals a longitudinal opaque white line can be seen on both sides of the dorsum, just below the base of cerata, that continues forward to the cephalic region and the outer side of oral palps. These oral palps are long and colored white, while the propodial palps are short and are ridged ventrally. Both rhinophores start close together at the base, are colored white and have numerous tightly packed orange lamellae on the tip. The eyes are located at the base of each rhinophore. The cerata are grouped in 7-10 groups on both sides or the back. As with F. affinis, the cerata grow from a common basal bump, in groups of 4-5 cerata, being the outermost the smaller, and the innermost the biggest. The cerata are also colored white, and the digestive gland inside can be seen by transparency as a very soft fine orange cord; subapical area of the cerata is bright orange color that fades towards the base. The tips of cerata are sharp and a white cnidosac can be easily observed inside. The foot is translucent white with an opaque white margin .

This is a very active species that it is often observed wandering on the rocks and that despite its relatively big size and conspicuous colors it was not described to science until 1972 in the Gulf of Naples, one of the most studied areas in the opisthobranchs field. It has been associated with different species of hydroids (Campanularia, Eudendrium, Perigonimus = bougainvilla), but it is unclear whether it feeds on them. The spawn is a string of about 0.7 mm wide with white eggs.


  • Flabellina from the Latin flabellum meaning fan.
  • babai in honor to the eminent Japanese investigator Kikutaro Baba, deceased in 2001 at the age of 94.

Despite its recent description, it has been cited throughout the Mediterranean, from the Turkish coast to Croatia, the Italian Peninsula, the Portuguese coast, the Andalusian coast and Strait of Gibraltar. Also on the coast of Dakar (Senegal). In Catalonia has been cited in Llançà, Cadaqués, L’Escala and Roses, among other locations.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Flabellina babai
: 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 Flabellina babai based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes et al. (2012-2017) "Flabellina babai" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 17/05/2012, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/LFgdr)

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