Doridacean nudibranchs are characterized by having a more or less dorsoventrally flattened body, by the presence of large mantle that may have embedded spicules and may also have different projections (tubers, papillae) and the existence of a dorsal branchial plume formed by several branchial leaves surrounding the anus. Rhinophores are found in the anterior region of the notum, provided with lamellae and retractile (cryptobranch doridaceans) or just contractile (fanerobranch doridaceans).

Felimare picta by Enric Madrenas

The doridaceans are carnivorous and feed primarily on sponges and bryozoans. They feed by using their radula, that can have some to many teeth on each row, but the species of the family Dendrodorididae lack any radula at all, and feed by sucking food with their suctorial type buccal bulb. Many doridacean species have external parasites of the Copepod Crustaceans group, often of the Splanchnotrophidae family, moving primarily around the ​​gill leaves. Doridaceans have the most powerful defense mechanisms within the nudibranchs. Many species of several families present some mantle glands called MDF (for “Mantle Dermal Formations”) where they accumulate several secondary metabolites that have a large antidepredant effect when they are expelled to the outside, which happens easily when the animal is disturbed. These powerful defensive substances have allowed these nudibranchs to acquire flashy colorations  in the course of evolution, called warning (or aposematic) colorations, to prevent attacks by their possible predators.


The updated doridaceans taxonomy proposed by Bouchet et al. (2017) and accepted at WoRMS is as follows:

  • Infraorder Doridoidei
    • Superfamily Doridoidea Rafinesque, 1815
      • Family Actinocyclidae O’Donoghue, 1929
        • Genus Actinocyclus Ehrenberg, 1831
        • Genus Hallaxa Eliot, 1909
      • Family Cadlinidae Bergh, 1891
        • Genus Aldisa Bergh, 1878
        • Genus Cadlina Bergh, 1879
      • Family Chromodorididae Bergh, 1891
        • Genus Ardeadoris Rudman, 1984
        • Genus Berlanguella Ortea, Bacallado & Valdés, 1992
        • Genus Cadlinella Thiele, 1931
        • Genus Ceratosoma A. Adams & Reeve, 1850
        • Genus Chromodoris Alder & Hancock, 1855
        • Genus Diversidoris Rudman, 1987
        • Genus Doriprismatica d’Orbigny, 1839
        • Genus Felimare Ev. Marcus & Er. Marcus, 1967
        • Genus Felimida Ev. Marcus, 1971
        • Genus Glossodoris Ehrenberg, 1831
        • Genus Goniobranchus Pease, 1866
        • Genus Hypselodoris Stimpson, 1855
        • Genus Mexichromis Bertsch, 1977
        • Genus Miamira Bergh, 1874
        • Genus Thorunna Bergh, 1878
        • Genus Tyrinna Bergh, 1898
        • Genus Verconia Pruvot-Fol, 1931
      • Family Discodorididae Bergh, 1891
        • Genus Alloiodoris Bergh, 1904
        • Genus Aporodoris Ihering, 1886
        • Genus Argus Bohadsch, 1761
        • Genus Asteronotus Ehrenberg, 1831
        • Genus Atagema Gray, 1850
        • Genus Baptodoris Bergh, 1884
        • Genus Carminodoris Bergh, 1889
        • Genus Diaulula Bergh, 1878
        • Genus Dictyodoris Bergh, 1880
        • Genus Discodoris Bergh, 1877
        • Genus Gargamella Bergh, 1894
        • Genus Geitodoris Bergh, 1891
        • Genus Gravieria Vayssiere, 1912
        • Genus Halgerda Bergh, 1880
        • Genus Hiatodoris Dayrat, 2010
        • Genus Hoplodoris Bergh, 1880
        • Genus Jorunna Bergh, 1876
        • Genus Nirva Bergh, 1905
        • Genus Nophodoris Valdés & Gosliner, 2001
        • Genus Paradoris Bergh, 1884
        • Genus Peltodoris Bergh, 1880
        • Genus Peronodoris Bergh, 1904
        • Genus Platydoris Bergh, 1877
        • Genus Rostanga Bergh, 1879
        • Genus Sclerodoris Eliot, 1904
        • Genus Sebadoris Er. Marcus & Ev. Marcus, 1960
        • Genus Taringa Er. Marcus, 1955
        • Genus Tayuva Er. Marcus & Ev. Marcus, 1967
        • Genus Thordisa Bergh, 1877
        • Genus Thorybopus Bouchet, 1977
      • Family Dorididae Rafinesque, 1815
        • Genus Aphelodoris Bergh, 1879
        • Genus Artachaea Bergh, 1881
        • Genus Conualevia Collier & Farmer, 1964
        • Genus Doriopsis Pease, 1860
        • Genus Doris Linnaeus, 1758
        • Genus Goslineria Valdés, 2001
        • Genus Pharodoris Valdés, 2001
        • Subfamily Miamirinae Bergh, 1891
    • Superfamily Onchidoridoidea Gray, 1827
      • Family Akiodorididae Millen & Martynov, 2005
        • Genus Akiodoris Bergh, 1879
        • Genus Armodoris Minichev, 1972
        • Genus Doridunculus G.O. Sars, 1878
        • Genus Echinocorambe Valdés & Bouchet, 1998
        • Genus Prodoridunculus Thiele, 1912
      • Family Calycidorididae Roginskaya, 1972
        • Genus Calycidoris Abraham, 1876
        • Genus Diaphorodoris Iredale & O’Donoghue, 1923
      • Family Corambidae Bergh, 1871
        • Genus Corambe Bergh, 1869
        • Genus Loy Martynov, 1994
        • Genus Hypobranchiaea A. Adams, 1847 (taxon inquirendum)
      • Family Goniodorididae H. Adams & A. Adams, 1854
        • Genus Ancula Lovén, 1846
        • Genus Goniodoridella Pruvot-Fol, 1933
        • Genus Goniodoris Forbes & Goodsir, 1839
        • Genus Lophodoris G.O. Sars, 1878
        • Genus Murphydoris Sigurdson, 1991
        • Genus Okenia Menke, 1830
        • Genus Spahria Risbec, 1928
        • Genus Trapania Pruvot-Fol, 1931
      • Family Onchidorididae Gray, 1827
        • Genus Acanthodoris Gray, 1850
        • Genus Adalaria Bergh, 1878
        • Genus Knoutsodonta Hallas & Gosliner, 2015
        • Genus Onchidoris Blainville, 1816
        • Genus Onchimira Martynov, Korshunova, Sanamyan N. & Sanamyan K., 2009
    • Superfamily Phyllidioidea Rafinesque, 1814
      • Family Dendrodorididae O’Donoghue, 1924 (1864)
        • Genus Cariopsilla Ortea & Espinosa, 2006
        • Genus Dendrodoris Ehrenberg, 1831
        • Genus Doriopsilla Bergh, 1880
      • Family Mandeliidae Valdés & Gosliner, 1999
        • Genus Mandelia Valdés & Gosliner, 1999
      • Family Phyllidiidae Rafinesque, 1814
        • Genus Ceratophyllidia Eliot, 1903
        • Genus Phyllidia Cuvier, 1797
        • Genus Phyllidiella Bergh, 1869
        • Genus Phyllidiopsis Bergh, 1876
        • Genus Reticulidia Brunckhorst, 1990
    • Superfamily Polyceroidea Alder & Hancock, 1845
      • Family Aegiridae P. Fischer, 1883
        • Genus Aegires Lovén, 1844
        • Genus Notodoris Bergh, 1875
      • Family Hexabranchidae Bergh, 1891
        • Genus Hexabranchus Ehrenberg, 1828
      • Family Okadaiidae Baba, 1930
        • Genus Vayssierea Risbec, 1928
      • Family Polyceridae Alder & Hancock, 1845
        • Subfamily Kalinginae Pruvot-Fol, 1956
          • Genus Kalinga Alder & Hancock, 1864
        • Subfamily Kankelibranchinae Ortea, Espinosa & Caballer, 2005
          • Genus Kankelibranchus Ortea, Espinosa & Caballer, 2005
        • Subfamily Nembrothinae Burn, 1967
          • Genus Martadoris Willan & Chang, 2017
          • Genus Nembrotha Bergh, 1877
          • Genus Roboastra Bergh, 1877
          • Genus Tambja Burn, 1962
          • Genus Tyrannodoris Willan & Chang, 2017
        • Subfamily Polycerinae Alder & Hancock, 1845
          • Genus Greilada Bergh, 1894
          • Genus Palio Gray, 1857
          • Genus Polycera Cuvier, 1816
          • Genus Polycerella A. E. Verrill, 1880
          • Genus Thecacera Fleming, 1828
        • Subfamily Triophinae Odhner, 1941
          • Genus Colga Bergh, 1880
          • Genus Crimora Alder & Hancock, 1862
          • Genus Heteroplocamus W. R. B. Oliver, 1915
          • Genus Holoplocamus Odhner, 1926
          • Genus Joubiniopsis Risbec, 1928
          • Genus Kaloplocamus Bergh, 1880
          • Genus Limacia O. F. Müller, 1781
          • Genus Plocamopherus Rüppell & Leuckart, 1828
          • Genus Triopha Bergh, 1880

Doridacean species recorded in the Mediterranean or around the Iberian Peninsula:

Acanthodoris pilosa by Klas Malmberg (Sweden)

Acanthodoris pilosa

Adalaria proxima by Klas Malmberg (Sweden)

Adalaria proxima

Aegires leuckartii by Enric Madrenas

Aegires leuckartii

Aegires palensis @ Costa Brava (Spain) by Enric Madrenas

Aegires palensis

Aegires punctilucens by Luis Ángel Díaz Álvarez

Aegires punctilucens

Aegires sublaevis 11mm @ Dwejra, Gozo, Malta 5m 29-07-1994 by Carmel Sammut

Aegires sublaevis

Aldisa banyulensis

Aldisa banyulensis

Aldisa smaragdina

Aldisa smaragdina

Aldisa zetlandica by Klas Malmberg (Sweden)

Aldisa zetlandica

Ancula gibbosa by Klas Malmberg (Sweden)

Ancula gibbosa

Aporodoris millegrana

Aporodoris millegrana

Atagema gibba First British record, Porthkerris, Cornwall. 24.11.1973. - Photograph ©Bernard Picton

Atagema gibba

Atagema rugosa @ Coral Gardens, Cape Peninsula, South Africa 16-04.2006 by Andrew Taylor (Lic. CC BY-SA)

Atagema rugosa

Baptodoris cinnabarina

Baptodoris cinnabarina

Cadlina laevis (Portugal) by Joao Pedro Silva

Cadlina laevis

Cadlina pellucida

Cadlina pellucida

Carminodoris boucheti by Manuel Ballesteros

Carminodoris boucheti

Chromodoris quadricolor @ Red Sea by Enric Madrenas

Chromodoris quadricolor

Corambe obscura @ Lake Worth Lagoon, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA 1-02-2015 by Linda Ianello

Corambe obscura

Corambe testudinaria @ Perbes (Ría de Ares, Galicia) 01-11-1978 by Victoriano Urgorri

Corambe testudinaria

Crimora papillata by Enric Madrenas

Crimora papillata

Dendrodoris fumata by Vishal Bhave

Dendrodoris fumata

Dendrodoris grandiflora by Enric Madrenas

Dendrodoris grandiflora

Dendrodoris herytra

Dendrodoris herytra

Dendrodoris limbata (adult) @ Costa Brava (Spain) by Miquel Pontes

Dendrodoris limbata

Diaphorodoris alba by Enric Madrenas

Diaphorodoris alba

Diaphorodoris luteocincta @ Mataró, Barcelona, Spain 6-05-2016 by Enric Madrenas

Diaphorodoris luteocincta

Diaphorodoris papillata

Diaphorodoris papillata

Discodoris rosi @ Costa Brava 2-05-2015 by Enric Madrenas

Discodoris rosi

Discodoris stellifera by Enric Madrenas

Discodoris stellifera

Doriopsilla areolata (Portugal) by Joao Pedro Silva

Doriopsilla areolata

Doriopsilla pelseneeri (Atlantic)

Doriopsilla pelseneeri

Doris bertheloti by Enric Madrenas

Doris bertheloti

Doris ocelligera by Manuel Ballesteros

Doris ocelligera

Doris pseudoargus Eating the sponge Amphilectus fucorum, The Burroo, Calf of Man, Isle of Man. - Photograph ©Bernard Picton

Doris pseudoargus

Doris sticta Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire, Wales. 22 June 1975. - Photograph ©Bernard Picton

Doris sticta

Doris verrucosa by Manuel Ballesteros

Doris verrucosa

Felimare bilineata (Portugal) by Joao Pedro Silva

Felimare bilineata

Felimare cantabrica @ Asturias by Luis Ángel Díaz

Felimare cantabrica

Felimare fontandraui

Felimare fontandraui

Felimare gasconi 15mm @ San Teodoro, Capo Coda Cavallo, may 1994 in 3m by Mauro Doneddu

Felimare gasconi

Felimare orsinii

Felimare orsinii

Felimare picta @ Es Caials, Cadaqués (Spain) 21/11/2015 by Miquel Pontes

Felimare picta

Felimare tricolor by Enric Madrenas

Felimare tricolor

Felimare villafranca by Enric Madrenas

Felimare villafranca

Felimida binza by Enric Madrenas

Felimida binza

Felimida clenchi @ Lake Worth Lagoon, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA 6-08-2007 by Anne DuPont

Felimida clenchi

Felimida edmundsi @ Sardina del Norte, Gran Canaria 1-09-2011 by Aketza Herrero

Felimida edmundsi

Felimida elegantula @ Olbia locality Cuncheddi, Sardinia, 06 July 2013, rocky bottom, -2 m by Mauro Doneddu

Felimida elegantula

Felimida goslineri

Felimida goslineri

Felimida krohni by Enric Madrenas

Felimida krohni

Felimida luteopunctata @ Tarifa (Spain) by Manuel Martínez Chacón

Felimida luteopunctata

Felimida luteorosea @ Costa Brava (Spain) by Enric Madrenas

Felimida luteorosea

Felimida purpurea @ Cala Montgó, L'Escala, Spain 5-03-2016 by Miquel Pontes

Felimida purpurea

Gargamella perezi @ Portlligat (Cadaqués) 7-12-2015 by Enric Madrenas

Gargamella perezi

Geitodoris bacalladoi @ Granada by Luis Sanchez Tocino

Geitodoris bacalladoi

Geitodoris bonosi by Manuel Ballesteros

Geitodoris bonosi

Geitodoris perfossa @ Madeira by Peter Wirtz

Geitodoris perfossa

Geitodoris planata by Enric Madrenas

Geitodoris planata

Geitodoris portmanni by Enric Madrenas

Geitodoris portmanni

Geitodoris pusae @ Lake Worth lagoon, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA 24-09-2009 by Anne DuPont

Geitodoris pusae

Geitodoris rubens

Geitodoris rubens

Goniobranchus annulatus (Red Sea) by Miquel Pontes

Goniobranchus annulatus

Goniobranchus obsoletus @ Gordon beach, Tel Aviv by Tal Shema

Goniobranchus obsoletus

Goniodoris castanea (Portugal) by Joao Pedro Silva

Goniodoris castanea

Goniodoris nodosa @ Strangford Lough, Co Down, Northern Ireland. 20 Oct 2005 by Bernard Picton

Goniodoris nodosa

Halgerda_willeyi @ Malapascua, Philippines 12m 5-03-2005 by Erwin Köhler

Halgerda willeyi

Hypselodoris infucata (Beirut, Lebanon) by Sonja Ooms

Hypselodoris infucata

Hypselodoris pulchella @ Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt (Red Sea) 27/09/1996 by Erwin Köhler

Hypselodoris pulchella

Jorunna efe @ Taliarte 1-07-2016 by Marcos Jiménez González

Jorunna efe

Jorunna evansi

Jorunna evansi

Jorunna onubensis by José Carlos García Gómez

Jorunna onubensis

Jorunna tomentosa by Manuel Ballesteros

Jorunna tomentosa

Kaloplocamus ramosus by Enric Madrenas

Kaloplocamus ramosus

Knoutsodonta depressa - Photograph ©Bernard Picton

Knoutsodonta depressa

Knoutsodonta pictoni by Enric Madrenas

Knoutsodonta pictoni

Limacia clavigera by Enric Madrenas

Limacia clavigera

Limacia iberica @ Ria de Arousa (A Coruña, Galicia, Spain) by Jacinto Pérez Dieste

Limacia iberica

Martadoris mediterranea @ La Herradura (Granada, Spain) in 23 m of depth by Fernando Aguado

Martadoris mediterranea

Okenia aspersa Tiree, W. Scotland. Collected Bob Earll. - Photograph ©Bernard Picton

Okenia aspersa

Okenia elegans 28mm @ Kašuni, Split (Croatia) 4-03-2016 7m by Jakov Prkić

Okenia elegans

Okenia impexa

Okenia impexa

Okenia Leachii Shiant Islands, NW Scotland. 1988. - Photograph ©Bernard Picton

Okenia leachii

Okenia mediterranea @ L'Escala, Spain by Enric Madrenas

Okenia mediterranea

Okenia miramarae @ Taliarte, Gran Canaria by Pablo Samper Méndez

Okenia miramarae

Okenia cf. zoobotryon by Enrico Ricchitelli

Okenia zoobotryon

Onchidoris albonigra

Onchidoris albonigra

Onchidoris bilamellata by Klas Malmberg (Sweden)

Onchidoris bilamellata

Onchidoris inconspicua Gulen dive resort, March 2012. Collected by Torjus Haukvik. - Photograph ©Bernard Picton

Onchidoris inconspicua

Onchidoris neapolitana @ Costa Brava (Spain) by Miquel Pontes

Onchidoris neapolitana

Onchidoris pusilla by Bernard Picton

Onchidoris pusilla

Onchidoris sparsa

Onchidoris sparsa

Palio dubia by Alexander Semenov

Palio dubia

Palio nothus @ Loch Sween, Scotland 20160206 by Matt Barnes (NE Atlantic Nudibranchs )

Palio nothus

Paradoris indecora by Enric Madrenas

Paradoris indecora

Peltodoris atromaculata by Enric Madrenas

Peltodoris atromaculata

Phyllidia flava by Enric Madrenas

Phyllidia flava

Phyllidiopsis bayi by José Carlos García Gómez

Phyllidiopsis bayi

Platydoris argo by Enric Madrenas

Platydoris argo

Plocamopherus maderae @ Gran Canaria by Aketza Herrero

Plocamopherus maderae

Plocamopherus ocellatus @ Movenpick Beach, Beirut, Lebanon 26.09.2015 by Sonja Ooms

Plocamopherus ocellatus

Plocamopherus tilesii @ Cambodia 13-10-2016 by Jeerapong Prathomsup

Plocamopherus tilesii

Polycera aurantiomarginata by José Carlos García Gómez

Polycera aurantiomarginata

Polycera elegans Skomer Island, Wales. July 1975. - Photograph ©Bernard Picton

Polycera elegans

Polycera faeroensis

Polycera faeroensis

Polycera hedgpethi @ Portovenere, Italy by Davide Lopresti

Polycera hedgpethi

Polycera quadrilineata by Enric Madrenas

Polycera quadrilineata

Polycerella emertoni 3mm @ Qajjenza, Malta 1m depth 18-08-1993 by Carmel Sammut

Polycerella emertoni

Rostanga anthelia

Rostanga anthelia

Rostanga rubra by Miquel Pontes

Rostanga rubra

Tambja ceutae by Sergio López González (

Tambja ceutae

Tambja marbellensis @ Albufeira, Portugal may 2016 by Stefan Verheyen

Tambja marbellensis

Taringa armata @ Granada by Luis Sánchez Tocino

Taringa armata

Taringa faba by Manuel Ballesteros

Taringa faba

Taringa pinoi

Taringa pinoi

Tayuva lilacina

Tayuva lilacina

Thecacera pennigera Skerries, Portrush, Co Antrim, Ireland. - Photograph ©Bernard Picton

Thecacera pennigera

Thordisa azmanii @ Bajo O Champiñon, Ria de Arousa, Galicia, Spain 10-06-2011 in 22m by Jacinto Pérez Dieste

Thordisa azmanii

Thordisa filix by Manuel Ballesteros

Thordisa filix

Trapania_fusca 5mm right @ Delimara, Malta 5-10m depth 15-09-1996 by Carmel Sammut

Trapania fusca

Trapania hispalensis

Trapania hispalensis

Trapania lineata by Enric Madrenas

Trapania lineata

Trapania luquei @ Las Eras, Tenerife, Canary Islands by Jonathan González Rodríguez

Trapania luquei

Trapania maculata by Enric Madrenas

Trapania maculata

20100930 Trapania orteai by Fabio Russo at Sant'Agnello, Napoli

Trapania orteai

Trapania pallida (Portugal) by João Pedro Silva

Trapania pallida

Trapania tartanella (Atlantic) by Carlos Fernández-Cid

Trapania tartanella

Tyrannodoris europaea @ Isla de Tarifa (Cadiz, Spain, Atl. shore) 10-10-2015 by Manuel Martínez Chacón

Tyrannodoris europaea