Godiva quadricolor

Godiva quadricolor (Barnard, 1927)

Godiva quadricolor @ Laguna Maremorto, Bacoli, Napoli (July 2013) by Guido Villani

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: Aeolidioidea  J.E. Gray, 1827
Family: Facelinidae  Bergh, 1889
Subfamily: Favorininae Bergh, 1889
Genus: Godiva  Macnae, 1954
Species: Godiva quadricolor (Barnard, 1927) [Hervia]


  • Hervia quadricolor Barnard, 1927

This animal is not very large, measuring from 3.5 to 5 cm. It has a slender body with a long tapering and dorsally keeled tail that could take one third of the body length. The oral tentacles are long and slender. The rhinophores are also slender, slightly wrinkled at rest but annulate when contracted. The dorsum is covered by many fusiform cerata, distributed in 5 groups: about 30-40 in the first group, 30 in the second, 25 in the third, 20 in the fourth, and 12-15 in the fifth, the outer ones shorter than the innermost. The genital orifice is located immediately below the first group, and the anal papilla is placed in the middle of the second group, both on the right side. On the front side of the foot there are two short propodial tentacles. The head is coloured pale orange, with 2 white lines running from the oral tentacles to the base of the rhinophores; the tentacles and the rhinophores have the same colour of the head, with bright yellow tips. The rest of body is translucent white, the tail has a narrow orange median stripe bordered by opaque (faintly blue) white. The dull blue coloured internal organs are visible through the skin by transparency. The cerata base colour is a purplish dark brown slightly sprinkled by small yellow dots, with a bright orange band towards the end, followed by brown narrow band, then a bright blue band, another brown narrow band, and then a bright yellow tip.

As in most facelinids, when the animal is disturbed the tentacles and rhinophores are contracted, and simultaneously the cerata are extended and pointed in all directions like a bristling porcupine. It has been observed to predate on poliquetes and other nudibranchs.


  • Godiva. Presumably dedicated to the English legend of Lady Godiva who rode naked through Coventry in order to persuade her husband not to tax the townspeople so heavily; the only person to look at her as she rode by was a man named Tom and Peeping Tom has become a synonym for voyeur (circa 1040-1080). The link to the tale could be the word “nudibranch” = “nude” + “gill”.
  • Quadricolor. From Latin “quattor”, four + “color”, color.

Godiva quadricolor has been found in both tropical and temperate waters, mainly in the intertidal area of brackish lagoons on and under stones or in Zostera meadows. It is usually found in areas subjected to important maritime traffic and high anthropization, suggesting that the species, endemic to South Africa, was most likely introduced to other regions through carriers’ ballast waters. First collected in 1912 in False Bay, South Africa, it is considered to be common in shallow waters along the whole east coast of South Africa. It has been cited in Mozambique, Tanzania and Ghana. In 1985, it was reported stable and very abundant in Fusaro Lake (Italy) and in Pialassa della Baiona (Italy), there are also some reports from the Etang de Thau (France), all these places are brakish lagoons connected to the sea. In 1987 it was recorded in Fremantle and Cockburn Sound, Western Australia and in South Queensland. In 2010, the species was found in the Atlantic coast of Morocco, in the Strait of Gibraltar (Algeciras Bay) and in an aquaculture tank in Salobreña (Granada, Spain).

Known georeferenced records of the species: Godiva quadricolor
: 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 Godiva quadricolor based on our own records.

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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes et al. (2012-2017) "Godiva quadricolor" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 15/10/2013, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/d72XA)

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