Cadlina laevis

Cadlina laevis (Linnaeus, 1767)

Cadlina laevis (Portugal) by João Pedro Silva













































Cadlina laevis  (Linnaeus, 1767)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139134).
Taxonomic note: The family Cadlinidae Bergh, 1891 was considered a synonym of the Chromodorididae. Research by R.F. Johnson in 2011 has shown that Cadlina does not belong to the family Chromodorididae. She has therefore brought back the name Cadlinidae from synonymy with Chromodorididae. The chromodorid nudibranchs without Cadlina are now monophyletic and turn out to be a possible sister to the Actinocyclidae.


  • Cadlina boscai Tejedo, 1994
  • Cadlina repanda (Alder & Hancock, 1842)
  • Doris laevis Linnaeus, 1767 (original)
  • Doris marginata Montagu, 1804
  • Doris obvelata Müller O.F., 1776
  • Doris planulata Stimpson, 1853
  • Doris repanda Alder & Hancock, 1842

This species of doridacean can reach about 30 mm in length. The body is oval, very flat and completely white except the mantle margin that in some specimens can be yellow due to the presence of numerous spots of the same color. All the dorsum is covered with small rounded tubercles of two different sizes. Occasionally, larger tubercles form a sort of circle near the dorsum margins. The rhinophores are short and white, semitransparent in the alaminar base and more opaque or slightly dark in the laminar zone. The laminar area of the rhinophores has 13-15 white lamellae and has a club shaped apex. The rhinophoric sheath is not very high and also has rounded tubercles on its upper edge. The gill leaves are also white. The mouth has a pair of short white palps. The white foot is wide and in its posterior side turns into a triangular tail protruding below the rear side of the mantle. The dorsal region of the tail also has rounded tubercles and the margin can be yellowish.

This species can live on rocky substrates from the intertidal zone to several hundred meters deep. It has been cited on different sponges and indicated that feeds on Dysidea fragilis, Hemimycale columella and fouling demosponge Halisarca dujardini. As a very interesting detail of its biology, it has been observed mating at the end of winter, where individuals, after copulation, produce ovigerous coiled ribbons of 2.5 mm in height. The eggs are pale cream coloured and very large, up to 370 microns, included in spherical capsules of about 600 microns; development is direct because the stage veliger larva occurs within the capsule, and hatching, which occurs about 50 days after the spawn, renders crawling juveniles about 800 microns long (Thompson, 1967).


  • Laevis. From Latin “laevis” or “levis”, smooth, flat, even.

This species is distributed throughout the North Atlantic, the Arctic, Iceland, Greenland, the coast of North America to Massachusetts and European coasts, from Norway to the Iberian Peninsula and the western Mediterranean. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been cited in Galicia, Portugal, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Levantine region, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. In the Catalan coast is a really uncommon species that has been observed in Cadaqués and the Medes islands.

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


    Western Mediterranean:1 out of 5 stars
    Eastern Mediterranean:0 out of 5 stars
    Atlantic Ocean:0 out of 5 stars

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Cadlina laevis based on our own records.

More pictures


    Abbott, R. T. 1954. American seashells. With illus. by Frederick M. Bayer. Van Nostrand.
    Abbott, R. T. 1974. American seashells. The marine mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific coast of North America. Van Nostrand, New York. 663 pp., 24 pls. [October 1974].
    Altena, C. O. v. R. 1937. Bijdrage tot de Kennis der Fossiele, Subfossiele en recente Mollusken, die op de Nederlansche Stranden Aanspoelen, en Hunner Verspreiding, xii + 184 pp, 12 pls. D. van Sijn & Zonen, Rotterdam.
    Altimira, C., M. F. Huelin, and J. Ros. 1981. Mol·luscs bentònics de les illes Medes (Girona). I. Sistemàtica. Butll. Inst. Cat. Hist. Nat. (Sec. Zool.), 47: 69-75.
    Anderson, J. 1999. Cadlina laevis accessed through: Scottish Nudibranchs on 2014-12-21. ( Nudibranchs/cadlina-laevis.html).
    Ballesteros, M. 1982. Estado actual de la fauna de Doridaceos (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia) de las costas Catalanas. Oceanografia de la Mediterrania Occidental, Res. Com Oral Reunion Soc. Cat. Biologia, 2 pp.
    Ballesteros, M. 1980. Contribución al conocimientos de los Sacoglosos y Nudibranquios (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia). Estudio anatómico, sistemático y faunístico de las especies del mediterráneo español. Tesis Doctoral.
    Ballesteros, M. 2007. Lista actualizada de los opistobranquios (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira. 2: 163–188.
    Ballesteros, M., and J. Templado. 1996. Opistobranquios de las islas Baleares y de las Columbretes In: Libro de Résumenes XI Congresso Nacional de Malacología. D. Moreno (ed.): 40-41. Sociedad Española de Malacología. Almería, Spain.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2016. Actualización del catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira 6(2016): 1-28.
    Ballesteros, M., M. Pontes, and E. Madrenas. 2015. Opisthobranch from Medes Islands (Marine Protected Area, Costa Brava, Catalonia, NE Spain): 40 years of study.
    Ballesteros, M., M. Pontes, and E. Madrenas. 2019. Els nudibranquis del mar català. Brau Edicions, Figueres.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2021. OPK - Opistobranquis. (
    Barbour, M. A. 1971. The functional morphology of the digestive tract of the dorid nudibranch, Cadlina laevis Bergh, 1879.
    Barbour, M. A. 1979. A note on the distribution and food preference of Cadlina laevis (Nudibranchia: Chromodorididae). Nautilus 93(2-3):61-62.
    Bardarson, G. G. 1919. Saelindyr vid Island (Mollusca marina islandiae). Skyrsla isl. náttúrufraedisfjelag, (1917-1918): 45-75.
    Bardarson, G. G. 1920. Om den marine molluskfauna ved vestkysten af Island. Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskabs Biologiske Meddelelser, Kjobenhavn 2(3):1-139.
    Barletta, G. 1981. Gasteropodi nudi (Pleurobranchomorpha, Sacoglossa, Aplysiomorpha e Nudibranchia) Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche, Guide per il riconoscimento delle specie animali delle acque lagunari e costiere italiane AQ/1/92, 3. Quaderni della Civica Stazione Idrobiologica di Milano (9):1-124.
    Bedulli, D., R. Cattaneo-Vietti, R. Chemello, F. Ghisotti, and F. Giovine. 1995. Gastropoda Opisthobranchia, Divasibranchia, Gymnomorpha, Fascicolo 15, pp. 1-23.  In: A. Minelli, A. Ruffo, & S. La Posta (Eds.). Checklist delle specie fauna italiana, Checklist delle specie della Fauna Italiana. Calderini, Bologna.
    Beeman, R. D., and G. C. Williams. 1980. Chapter 14. Opisthobranchia and Pulmonata: the sea slugs and allies; pp 308- 354, pls. 95-111, In: Intertidal invertebrates of California, ix + 690 pp, 200 pls. Stanford University Press.
    Bielecki, S., G. Cavignaux, J. M. Crouzet, and S. Grall. 2011. Des limaces de rêve.
    Bouchet, P., and J.-C. Moreteau. 1975. Additions a l’inventaire des mollusques marins de la region de Roscoff, II. Gasteropodes Opisthobranches. Travaux de la Station Biologique de Roscoff (n.s) 22:7-13.
    Brown, G. H., and B. E. Picton. 1971. Nudibranchs of the British Isles – a colour guide.
    Brown, G. H., and B. E. Picton. 1979. Nudibranchs of the British Isles — a colour guide. Underwater Conservation Society, Manchester, by R. Earll.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R. 1986. Alcune considerazioni sui molluschi opistobranchi del Mar Ligure. Lavori Societa Italiana di Malacologia 22:85-96.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R., and G. Barletta. 1984. Elenco preliminare dei molluschi opistobranchi viventi nel Mediterraneo (Sacoglossa, Pleurobranchomorpha, Acochlidiacea, Aplysiomorpha, Nudibranchia). Bollettino Malacologico (Pubblicazione Mensile Edita dalla Societa Italiana di Malacologia) 20(9-12):195-218.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R., and R. Chemello. 1987. Alcune considerazioni sui molluschi opistobranchi della Sicilia. Bollettino Malacologico (Pubblicazione Mensile Edita dalla Societa Italiana di Malacologia) 23(5-8):207-222.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R., and T. E. Thompson. 1989. Mediterranean opisthobranch molluscs: a zoogeographic approach. Bollettino Malacologico (Pubblicazione Mensile Edita dalla Societa Italiana di Malacologia) 25(5-8):183-204.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R., S. Angelini, L. Gaggero, and G. Lucchetti. 1995. Mineral Composition of Nudibranch Spicules. J. Molluscan Stud. 61(3):331-337.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R., S. Angelini, and G. Bavestrello. 1993. Skin and gut spicules in Discodoris atromaculata (Bergh, 1880) (Mollusca: Nudibranchia). Bollettino Malacologico 29(5-8):173-180.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R., R. Chemello, and R. Giannuzzi-Savelli. 1990. Atlante dei nudibranchi del Mediterraneo. La Conchiglia, Rome 264 pp, 14 pls. (104 clr. ill), line drawings.
    Cervera, J. L., J. Templado, J. C. García-Gómez, M. Ballesteros, J. Ortea, F. J. García, J. Ros, and A. A. Luque. 1988. Catálogo actualizado y comentado de los Opistobranquios (Mollusca, Gastropoda) de la Península Ibérica, Baleares y Canarias, con algunas referencias a Ceuta y la isla de Alborán. Iberus, supl. 1: 1-84.
    Cervera, J. L., G. Calado, C. Gavaia, M. A. E. Malaquías, J. Templado, M. Ballesteros, J. C. García-Gómez, and C. Megina. 2004. An annotated and updated checklist of the opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from Spain and Portugal (including islands and archipelagos). Boletín Instituto Español de Oceanografía, 20 (1-4): 1-111. L.
    Debelius, H., and R. H. Kuiter. 2007. Nudibranchs of the world. IKAN- Unterwasserarchiv, Frankfurt.
    Dominguez, M., F. J. Garcia, and J. S. Troncoso. 2006. Some aspects of the family Chromodorididae (Opisthobranchia : Nudibranchia) from Brazil, with description of a new species. Scientia Marina. 70: 621–634.
    Eales, N. B. 1967. The littoral fauna of the British Isles: a handbook for collectors, 4th ed; pp i-xviii, 1-297, pls. A-H. University Press, Cambridge, England.
    Edmunds, M. 1981. Opisthobranchiate Mollusca from Ghana: Chromodorididae. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 72: 175-201.
    Edmunds, M. 1982. Speciation in chromodorid nudibranchs in Ghana. Proceedings of the 7th International Malacological Congress, August 31-September 7, 1980. Gaillard,-J.M.-ed. 1982. Malacologia 22(1/2):515-522.
    Edmunds, M. 1977. Larval development, oceanic currents, and origins of the Opisthobranch fauna of Ghana. Journal of Molluscan studies 43:301-308.
    Edmunds, M. 1991. Does warning coloration occur in nudibranchs. Malacologia 32(2):241-255.
    Evertsen, J., and T. Bakken. 2013. Diversity of Norwegian sea slugs (Nudibranchia): new species to Norwegian coastal waters and new data on distribution of rare species. Fauna Norvegica 32: 45-52.
    Evertsen, J., and T. Bakken. 2005. Nudibranch diversity (Heterobranchia, Gastropoda) along the coast of Norway. Fauna Norvegica, 25: 1-37.
    Filatova, Z. A., and V. I. Zatsepin. 1948. Class Gastropoda– gastropod molluscs; pp 358-402, In: N. S Gaevskoi (ed ), Checklist of the fauna and flora of the northern seas of the USSR, 740 pp.
    Flanders Marine Institute. 2018. Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase: Territorial Seas. Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase. (
    Garcia, F. J., and H. Bertsch. 2009. Diversity and distribution of the Gastropoda Opisthobranchia from the Atlantic Ocean: A global biogeographic approach. Scientia Marina. 73: 153–160.
    García Gómez, J. C. 1983. Moluscos opistobranquios del Estrecho de Gibraltar y Bahía de Algeciras. Iberus. 41–46.
    García-Gómez, J. C. 1983. Moluscos Opistobranquios del Estrecho de Gibraltar y Bahía de Algeciras. Iberus 3: 41-46.
    García-Gómez, J. C. 1982. Contribución al conocimiento de los opistobranquios del litoral andaluz. Actas II Simposio Ibérico de Estudios del Bentos Marino III: 235-241.
    García-Gómez, J. C. 2002. Paradigmas de una fauna insólita; Los moluscos opistobranquios del estrecho de Gibraltar (Serie Ciencias) 20: 397 pp. Instituto de Estudios Gibraltareños. Algeciras, Cádiz, Spain.
    Grande, C., J. Templado, J. L. Cervera, and R. Zardoya. 2003. Molecular phylogeny of Euthyneura (Mollusca: Gastropoda). Molecular Biology and Evolution 21 (2): 303-313. 21: 303–313.

    Bibliography based on the works by Steve Long, 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000 and Gary McDonald, 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia, with later updates from other resources.

Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, M., Madrenas, E. & Pontes, M. (2022) "Cadlina laevis" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 22/09/2013. Accessed: 20/01/2022. Available at (

To copy this cite click on the right button.