Tritonia manicata

Tritonia manicata (Deshayes, 1853)

Tritonia manicata 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 and Morton, 1984
Parvorder: Dendronotida Odhner, 1934
Superfamily: Tritonioidea  Lamarck, 1809
Family: Tritoniidae  Lamarck, 1809
Genus: Tritonia  Cuvier, 1797
Species: Tritonia manicata  Deshayes, 1853


  • Candiella villafranca Vayssière, 1901
  • Duvaucelia gracilis Risso, 1826
  • Nemocephala marmorata Costa A., 1867
  • Tritonia moesta Bergh, 1884

The body, like in other species of the same genus, is tall and with a square section. Animals are small and can reach a size of just over 10 mm long. The background color of the body is whitish but the dorsum appears darkened by an elongated and of irregular contour dark brown, almost black, stain, continuous in many specimens, which runs from the back of the head to the tail. Spots of the same color are also appreciated in front of the rhinophores and on the side walls of the body, in this case in the form of small irregular spots and, in some animals, aligned as a discontinuous stripe. In some specimens the spots on the dorsum and sides of the body could be reddish. The head has a semitransparent cephalic veil with 4-6 fingerings in the front. The rhinophores are short and cylindrical, with 2-3 poorly developed lamellae and a small number of digitations directed obliquely and forward. The rhinophore is surrounded at its base by a wide whitish sheath which also could be coloured in dark brown pigment. The eyes are seen by transparency in the center of the base of the rhinophores. The back has 3-4 white little branched processes on each side. The genital opening and anus are located on the right side of the body, at the height of the first and second dorsal process. The foot is rounded in the front area and is broad in the tail, widely protruding underneath the dorsum; it is coloured whitish.

This species is usually found in dimly lit shallow rocky walls with an abundance of seaweeds, sponges and hydrarians. In these walls abound anthozoan cnidarians of the stoloniferous group, of the genus Cornularia and Clavularia, on which it apparently feeds. It can also be found between rhizomes of Posidonia oceanica.


  • Tritonia. The genus Tritonia is dedicated to Triton, in Greek mythology the god of the sea, son of Poseidon and Amphitrite, portrayed as having the head and trunk of a man and the tail of a fish.
  • Manicata. Del Latín “manicatus”, que tiene mangas largas, que tiene asas.

This species is mainly distributed across all Mediterranean coastlines but there are cites from the Atlantic coast of Morocco and in the British Isles. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been found in all coastal areas and also in the Balearic islands. In Catalonia it has been cited in several localities of the Costa Brava (Es Caials, Illes Medes, Estartit, Cala Aiguablava, Llafranc, Cala Santa Cristina, Tossa de Mar) and also in Vilassar de Mar.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Tritonia manicata
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions

References for the species: Tritonia manicata

    Cantabria: Ortea (1977a,b), Fernández-Ovies (1981). All as Duvaucelia. Galicia: Ortea (1977a,b), Fernández-Ovies (1981), Urgorri and Besteiro (1983). Portugal: De Oliveira (1895), Hidalgo (1916), Nobre (1932) (all these as T. moesta), García-Gómez et al. (1991a), Calado et al. (1999, 2003). Andalucía (Atl.): Cervera and García (1986). Gibraltar: García-Gómez (1983), García-Gómez et al. (1989). Andalucía (Med.): Luque (1983, 1986, as Duvaucelia), Ballesteros et al. (1986, as Duvaucelia), Hergueta and Salas (1987, as Duvaucelia), Templado, Luque and Moreno (1988), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a). Levante: Templado (1982b, 1983, 1984), Ballesteros (1985), Ballesteros et al. (1986) (all of them as Duvaucelia), Marín and Ros (1987), Templado et al. (2002). Catalunya: Ros (1975, 1978b, 1985b), Ros & Altimira (1977), Ballesteros (1980, 1985), Altimira et al. (1981), Huelin & Ros (1984), M@re Nostrum [Illa Mateua (L'Escala) 7/1999]. Todas las citas excepto M@re Nostrum como Duvaucelia. Baleares: Templado (1982a), Ballesteros, Álvarez and Mateo (1986). Both records as Duvaucelia.

    General: Brown, 1978a:305; Brown & Picton, 1979:3; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi-Savelli, 1990:137[P]; Haefelfinger, 1963:62; Luque, 1983:61; Perrone, 1986a:23; Picton & Morrow, 1994:30[P]; Pruvot-Fol, 1937:532; Riedl, 1983:321; Schmekel, 1970:174; Schmekel & Portmann, 1982:143[P]; Templado, Luque, & Moreno, 1988:18; Thompson, 1988:112; Thompson & Brown, 1984:14[P]

    Sources: Cervera et al., 2004, Ballesteros, 2007 & 2016, McDonald, 2006 and other sources.


    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:
This chart displays the observation probability for Tritonia manicata 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) "Tritonia manicata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 16/05/2012, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (

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