Felimare picta

Felimare picta (Schultz in Philippi, 1836)

Felimare picta @ Costa Brava by Enric Madrenas
















































Felimare picta  (Philippi, 1836)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 597522).

Taxonomic note: The European Atlantic and Mediterranean species of the genus Chromodoris and Hypselodoris have been reconsidered. After molecular analysis of the Chromodorididae performed by Johnson & Gosliner (2012, Traditional taxonomic groupings mask evolutionary history: A molecular phylogeny and new classification of the chromodorid nudibranchs. PLoS ONE 7(4): 33479) the Hypselodoris species have been included in the genus Felimare Ev. Marcus & Er. Marcus, 1967 and the Chromodoris species have been included in the genus Felimida Ev. Marcus, 1971.


  • Chromodoris cantrainii Bergh, 1879
  • Chromodoris elegans (Cantraine, 1835)
  • Chromodoris valenciennesi (Cantraine, 1841)
  • Doris calcarae Vérany, 1846
  • Doris elegans Cantraine, 1835
  • Doris lutescens Delle Chiaje in Verany, 1846
  • Doris nardi Vérany, 1846
  • Doris nardii Vérany, 1846
  • Doris picta Schultz in Philippi, 1836 (original)
  • Doris scacchi Delle Chiaje, 1830
  • Doris valenciennesi Cantraine, 1841
  • Glossodoris edenticulata White, 1952
  • Glossodoris picta (Schultz in Philippi, 1836)
  • Glossodoris valenciennesi (Cantraine, 1841)
  • Glossodoris webbi (d’Orbigny, 1839)
  • Goniodoris elegans (Cantraine, 1835)
  • Hypselodoris edenticulata (White, 1952)
  • Hypselodoris elegans (Cantraine, 1835)
  • Hypselodoris picta (Schultz in Philippi, 1836)
  • Hypselodoris picta picta (Schultz in Philippi, 1836)
  • Hypselodoris picta webbi (d’Orbigny, 1839)
  • Hypselodoris valenciennesi (Cantraine, 1841)
  • Hypselodoris webbi (d’Orbigny, 1839)
  • Polycera webbi d’Orbigny, 1839

This is the largest species of European chromodorididae because it can reach more than 12 cm in length, although there are reports of animals about 20 cm in length. The body is very elongated, tall, with a narrow mantle that barely surpasses the foot on the sides. The mantle widens somewhat at the head, forming an incipient cephalic veil. The background color of the body is white or slightly bluish but on this color there are numerous elongated stains or yellow scores that vary in number and arrangement on each different specimen. The yellow scores are also present on the sides of the body. This is the typical “clear” coloring pattern, but there are less frequent blue colored specimens on which the background color is blue and there are less yellow scores. The rhinophores are not very big and have the same color of the body, but the apex which is bluish. The lamellae grow from the upper two thirds of the rhinophore, its base is smooth and the rhinophoric sheath is slightly elevated with the upper edge smooth and colored yellow. The gill consists of 10-12 yellowish-green or slightly bluish leaves deppending on the specimens, which are kept close together when they are extended. Gill leaves are relatively narrow and have thin lamellae on either side of the rachis. The branchial sheath is quite high, with a smooth edge and also has yellow spots and scores. Often the dorsum yellow lines converge towards the upper edge of gill sheath. The foot is white or slightly bluish, ahead mouth there are two small blue tipped oral tentacles. The tail is robust and also has yellow spots, its end is usually colored bluish.

This species is relatively common in dimly lit rock walls with abundant algae, sponges and other invertebrates, from the upper subtidal zone down to 50 m in the Mediterranean. Its diet consists of sponges like Dysidea fragilis, Ircinia fasciculata and Pleraplysilla spinifera (Nybakken & McDonald, 2001). The spawn consists of an spiral ribbon of about 6 mm high with orange eggs with a diameter of 170 microns (Ortea, et al. 1996). Along most of the mantle edge, but mainly at the level of the rhinophores, sides and behind the gill there are numerous whitish glands (or mantle dermal formations – MDF) containing a substance, the longifoline, that is expelled out if the animal is disturbed and has a strong anti-predatory action and is therefore of defensive action.


  • Picta. From Latin Pictus, painted.

F. picta has been cited both in the western Atlantic coast (Florida, Gulf of Mexico) and in the eastern Atlantic, from Angola to Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, Madeira and the Azores, the Iberian Peninsula and all the Mediterranean. In the Iberian Peninsula is known in all Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal areas (Cervera et al., 2004), also in the Balearics. In the Catalan coast it has been observed in many localities of the Costa Brava and in the coast of Tarragona (Folch, 2013). In most of the records prior to 1990 the species has been cited under the names valenciennesi, elegans, or webbi.

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

References for the species: Felimare picta

    Cantabria: Ros (1975, 1978b), Ortea (1977c), Ávila Escartín (1993), Fontana et al. (1993). Galicia: Urgorri and Besteiro (1983). Portugal: Calado et al. (1999) Andalucía (Atl.): Templado et al. (1993b), García-Gómez, Cimino and Medina (1990), García-Gómez, Medina and Coveñas (1991), Ortea, Valdés and García-Gómez (1996), Gosliner and Johnson (1999). Andalucía (Med.): Ros (1975), Luque (1983, 1986), Salas and Luque (1986), Ballesteros et al. (1986), Ortea, Valdés and García-Gómez (1996), Schick (1998), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a), Ocaña et al. (2000), Peñas et al. (in press). Levante: De Fez (1974, as Chromodoris villafranca), Templado (1982b, 1983, 1984), Ortea and Templado (1984), Ballesteros (1985), Ramos (1985), Ballesteros et al. (1986), Marín and Ros (1987, as Hypselodoris elegans), Ortea, Valdés and García-Gómez (1996), Aguado-Giménez (2000), Templado et al. (2002). Catalunya: Ros (1975, 1978b, 1985a,b), Ros & Altimira (1977), Ballesteros (1980, 1985), Pereira (1980), Altimira et al. (1981), Pereira & Ballesteros (1982), Huelin & Ros (1984), Ávila (1993), Ortea et al. (1996), M@re Nostrum [Es Caials (Cadaqués) 4/2006, Cap Trencat (Roses) 8/1995, Canons de Tamariu (Llafranc) 7/1997, Ullastres (Llafranc) 8/1997, pecio del Boreas (Palamós) 8/1997, Mar Menuda (Tossa de Mar) 10/1999, Es Negre (Llavaneres) 9/1999]. Los registros de esta especie hasta 1996 se refieren a Glossodoris valenciennesi, a H. valenciennesi o a H. webbi. Baleares: Ballesteros (1981a), Ros (1981b), Ros and Gili (1985), Ballesteros, Álvarez and Mateo (1986), Altaba (1993, as H. elegans), Wirtz and Debelius (2003). Canarias: Odhner (1931), Pruvot-Fol (1954), Nordsieck (1972), Altimira and Ros (1979), Ortea and Templado (1984), Pérez-Sánchez and Moreno (1990), Pérez Sánchez, Bacallado and Ortea (1991), Ortea, Valdés and García-Gómez (1996), Malaquias and Calado (1997, as H. picta webbi), Malaquias (2000, as H. picta webbi), Ortea et al. (2001, as H. picta webbi), Moro et al. (2003), Wirtz and Debelius (2003). Madeira: Wirtz (1994, as H. webbi), Ortea, Valdés and García-Gómez (1996), Malaquias et al. (2001). Azores: Bergh (1899, as Chromodoris cantrainei), Gosliner (1990), Wirtz (1994, 1998, as H. picta azorica), Ortea, Valdés and García-Gómez (1996, as H. picta azorica), Ávila et al. (1998), Gosliner and Johnson (1999), Ávila (2000), Malaquias (2001), Wirtz and Debelius (2003).

    General: Mienis, 1984a:14; Perrone, 1991a:277; Riedl, 1983:335; Schmekel & Portmann, 1982:62[P]; Wagele & Schminke, 1987:[P]; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi-Savelli, 1990:77[P]; Mienis, 1984a:14; Perrone, 1983b:132; Schmekel, 1970:189; Thompson & Turner, 1983:85; Bouchet & Ortea, 1980:121[P]; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi-Savelli, 1990:79[P]; Gat & Mienis, 1986:120; Gosliner, 1990a:155[P]; Perrone, 1990c:213; 1991a:277; Sabelli, Giannuzzi-Savelli, & Bedulli, 1990:441; Thompson & Turner, 1983:83

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


    Western Mediterranean:2 out of 5 stars
    Eastern Mediterranean:2 out of 5 stars
    Atlantic Ocean:2 out of 5 stars

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Felimare picta based on our own records.



More pictures


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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2020) "Felimare picta" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 16/05/2012, Accessed: 02/07/2020 at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/BSpr2)

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