Paraflabellina gabinierei

Paraflabellina gabinierei (Vicente, 1975)

Paraflabellina gabinierei 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: Paraflabellina  Korshunova, Martynov, Bakken, Evertsen, Fletcher, Mudianta, Saito, Lundin,
Schrödl & Picton, 2017 
Species: Paraflabellina gabinierei (Vicente, 1975)

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 (


  • Facelina gabinierei Vicente, 1975
  • Piseinotecus evelinae Schmekel, 1980
  • Piseinotecus gabinierei (Vicente, 1975)
  • Flabellina gabinierei (Vicente, 1975)

This is a small sized aeolidacean, as it usually does not exceed 20 mm in length. The body is white or slightly yellowish, with the dark brown digestive gland visible within the cerata. The oral tentacles and rhinophores are long and slender and have the same size. Their base is somewhat transparent and the upper half is opaque white. On the surface of the rhinophores there are fine irregularities that, in some specimens, could form very thin circular sheets. There cerata are gathered in 7-8 groups on each side of the back, each group, but the last two, has a common whitish base from which the cerata grow. In the first group there are 6-8 cerata and their number progressively decrease as the group is located closer to the tail: the latter two groups of cerata usually only have one. The cerata are thin and elongated and coloured brown except the apex which is whitish and pointed. The foot is very narrow and white, in its anterior zone has two short propodial palps. The tail is long and very narrow.

This is a fairly scarce species so very few details of its biology are known. The few reports about this species indicate that it lives in dimly lit rocky walls with plenty of algae and hydrarians like Dynamena sp., Podocoryne sp., Obelia sp., Sertularella sp. and Eudendrium ramosum, all of which it can feed on (Schmekel & Portmann, 1982).


  • Paraflabellina, from Greek παρα (=contiguous) and Flabellina, in reference to its external similitude to the species of the genus Flabellina, despite molecular disparate results.
  • Flabellina derived of Latin Flabellum, meaning “fan”.
  • Gabinierei: Reported in the “Parc National de Port Cros et de l’îlot de La Gabinière” (France).

This is an endemic species to the Mediterranean, it has been cited so far in Turkey, Israel, Croatia, the Mediterranean coast of France and the Iberian Peninsula where it has been reported in the Andalusian Mediterranean coast (Cervera et al. 2004). In the Catalan coast it has been observed in the Costa Brava (Es Caials, Cadaqués and Medes Islands) and in the coast of Mataró (Barcelona).

Known georeferenced records of the species: Paraflabellina gabinierei
: 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 Paraflabellina gabinierei based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Paraflabellina gabinierei" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 17/05/2012, Accessed: 19/01/2018 at (

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