Felimida elegantula

Felimida elegantula (Philippi, 1844)

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
















































Felimida elegantula  (R. A. Philippi, 1844)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 771432).

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.

Felimida elegantula was described by Philippi (1844) based on a single specimen collected in Sicily (Italy) described with a rectangular opaque white body with small dark dorsal spots, a yellow band around the mantle, 11 gill leaves and white rhinophores. The color pattern of the specimens studied in the paper by Ortigosa et. al (2014) resembles Philippi’s description, similar to Perrone’s (1993) Felimida elegantula polychroma, in relation to the size of the dorsal spots. According to Perrone, the external differences between the two known subspecies, F. elegantula elegantula and F. elegantula polychroma, consist of the larger spots and the presence of faded white stains in the second. Cervera (2005) comments about a specimen without red spots (but with the faded white stains on the dorsum) that could belong to a third subspecies, or it could be a color variation of F. elegantula. Ortigosa et al. (2014) found no specimens corresponding to the Perrone’s description of F. elegantula elegantula for molecular analysis, so they were unable to determine whether the subspecies mentioned by Perrone correspond to intraspecific variations or are different species. The validity of F. elegantula as a distinct species is justified by the monophyly of the ‘large spot’ specimens studied by Ortigosa et al. (2014) and the species delimitation analysis. A later work by Furfaro et al. (2016) based on a specimen found in Tunisia which has been DNA analyzed, demonstrates that belongs to this species; although it does not contradict Perrone’s (1993) subspecies, it demonstrates the high chromatic variability of F. elegantula.


  • Chromodoris elegantula (Philippi, 1844)
  • Chromodoris elegantula polychroma Perrone, 1993
  • Doris elegantula Philippi, 1844 (Original)

Elongated and oval whitish body, with several red dots irregularly covering the dorsum, the sides of the foot and the tail. It has faded opaque white stains on the back. The mantle is surrounded by a yellow band, with a thin white band on the inside. The back of the foot is not covered by the mantle. It has Mantle Dermal Formations (or MDFs) around the edge of the mantle, but not in the head zone. It has two rhinophores with up to 13 lamellae. The gill has 6 unipinnate whitish gill leaves, each one with an opaque white rachis. Both the gills and the rhinophores are fully retractile.

This species is found in shallow waters, among algae (especially Cystoseira sp.). It is believed that feeds on hydrarians, small sponges and bryozoans growing near the base of the algae. It has also been found among Posidonia oceanica by laying a mass of yellow eggs. According Rudman (2005) a photo of a spawn in the paper by Sordi (1970) shows that it has few eggs and that they are large, suggesting that the larvae may have direct development (without veliger phase).


  • Elegantula. From Latin “elegantulus”, very graceful, elegant.

Felimida elegantula has been scarcely found after its original description (Philippi, 1844). It is known only in the Mediterranean Sea, where it has been described in Spain: Balearic Islands (Vives, 2007); France: Villafranche-sur-Mer (Pruvot-Fol, 1932); Italy: Palermo (Philippi, 1844, type locality), Porto San Paolo (Ortigosa et al, 2014.), Cagliari and Tavolara (Sardinia) (Trainito, 2003; Piras, 2005), Secche della Meloria (Sordi, 1970), Pantelleria island (Picchetti, 2000); Malta: (Cachia, Mifsud & Sammut, 1993, Perrone, 1993; Sammut & Perrone, 1998); Tunis: Kerkennah islands (Furfaro et al. 2016) and Turkey: Adrasan (Türkmen & Demirsoy, 2009).

Known georeferenced records of the species: Felimida elegantula
: 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 monthly observation probability for Felimida elegantula based on our own records.

More pictures


    Abraham PS. 1877. Revision of the anthobranchiate nudibranchiate Mollusca with descriptions or notices of forty-one hitherto undescribed species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1877: 196-269 [agosto].
    Ballesteros M, Madrenas E, Pontes M. 2024. OPK - Opistobranquis. Available from https://opistobranquis.info/.
    Bedulli D, Cattaneo-Vietti R, Chemello R, et al. 1995. Gastropoda Opisthobranchia, Divasibranchia, Gymnomorpha, Fascicolo 15, pp. 1-23.  In: A. Minelli, A. Ruffo, & S. La Posta (Eds.). Checklist delle specie fauna italiana. Bologna: Calderini (Checklist delle specie della Fauna Italiana).
    Bergh LSR. 1878. Untersuchung der Chromodoris elegans und villafranca. Malakozoologische blatter 25:1-36, pls. 1-2.
    Bergh LSR. 1891. Die cryptobranchiaten Dorididen. Zoologische Jahrbucher, Abtheilung fur Systematik Geographie und Biologie der Thiere 6(1):103-144.
    Bergh LSR. 1875. Neue Nacktschnecken der Südsee. Journal des Museum Godeffroy 8: 1-48, pl. VII-XI.
    Bergh LSR. 1884. Report on the Nudibranchiata collected by HMS Challenger during the years 1873-1876. Zoology 10 (part 26): 1-154, pl. 1-14.
    Bergh R. 1892. System der Nudibranchiaten Gasteropoden. Malacologische Untersuchungen. In: Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen von Dr. Carl Gottfried Semper. Zweiter Theil#Wissenschaftliche Resultate. Band 7, Theil 5. [pp. 1–51, pls 1–4, Mar. 1897; pp. 53–115, pls 5–8, Dec. 1897; pp. 117–158, pls 9–12, Nov. 1898; pp. 159–208, pls 13–16, 27 Mar. 1900; pp. 209–256, pls 17–20, 29 Jan. 1901; pp. 257–312, pls. 21–24, 15 Oct. 1901; pp. 313–382, pls 25–29, 7 Oct. 1902].
    Bergh LSR. 1878. Malacologische Untersuchungen, In: Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen von Dr Carl Gottfried Semper. Zweiter Theil. Wissenschaftliche Resultate. Band 2, Theil 2, Heft 14; pp 603-645, I-L, pls. 66-68.
    Cattaneo-Vietti R. 1986. Alcune considerazioni sui molluschi opistobranchi del Mar Ligure. Lavori Societa Italiana di Malacologia 22:85-96.
    Cattaneo-Vietti R, Barletta G. 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, Chemello R. 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, Thompson TE. 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, Chemello R, Giannuzzi-Savelli R. 1990. Atlas of Mediterranean Nudibranchs. Rome, Italy: La Conchiglia. 264 p.
    Doneddu M, Manunza B, Trainito E. 1995. Opistobranchi del Nord Sardegna: censimento ed annotazioni. Biologia Marina Mediterranea II (2): 369-370.
    Edmunds M. 1981. Opisthobranchiate Mollusca from Ghana: Chromodorididae. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 72: 175-201.
    Edmunds M. 1977. Larval development, oceanic currents, and origins of the Opisthobranch fauna of Ghana. Journal of Molluscan studies 43:301-308.
    Edmunds M. 1987. Color in opisthobranchs. Western Society of Malacologists Annual Report 19:24.
    Edmunds M. 1987. Color in opisthobranchs. American Malacological Bulletin 5(2):185-196.
    Edmunds M. 1991. Does warning coloration occur in nudibranchs. Malacologia 32(2):241-255.
    Furfaro G, Oliverio M, Mariottini P. 2016. The southernmost record of Felimida elegantula (Philippi, 1844) (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia). Marine Biodiversity. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12526-016-0480-7.
    Long SJ. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    McDonald G. 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia. 2nd Online Edition, Annotated. 1072 pp  Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. Available from http://escholarship.org/uc/item/8115h0wz.
    Ortea J, Valdés A. 1991. Descripción de una nueva especie de Chromodoris Alder and Hancock, 1855 (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia) de las Islas Canarias; Estudio comparado con otras especies atlánticas del grupo cromático “luteorosea”. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias 3 (4): 69-85.
    Ortea JA, Gofás S, Valdés A. 1997. Two new Chromodorididae (Mollusca, Nudibranchia) from Angola. Dos nuevos Chromodorididae (Mollusca, Nudibranchia) de Angola. Avicennia 6/7:117-124; figs. 1-4; pl 1.
    Ortigosa D, Pola M, Carmona L, et al. 2014. Redescription of Felimida elegantula (Philippi, 1844) and a preliminary phylogeny of the european species of Felimida (Cromodorididae). Journal of Molluscan Studies. 1-10. doi:10.1093/mollus/eyu041. [20 June 2014].
    Ozturk B, Dogan A, Bitlis-Bakir B, et al. 2014. Marine Molluscs of the Turkish Coasts: An Updated Checklist. Tübitak, Turkish Journal of Zoology 38. https://doi.org/10.3906/zoo-1405-78.
    Philippi RA. 1844. Enumeratio molluscorum Siciliae cum viventium tum in tellure tertiaria fossilium, quae in itinere suo observavit. Vol. 2. Eduard Anton, Halle [Halis Saxorum]: iv + 303 p., pl. 13-28.
    Pruvot Fol A. 1932. Notes de systematique sur les opisthobranches. Bulletin du Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, series 2, 4:322-331. Note XII. Glossodoris elegantula (Phil) et Diaphorodoris luteocincta (Sars); pp 323-329. Note XIII. Des genres Melibe Rang et Chioraera Gould; pp 329-331.
    Pruvot-Fol A. 1935. Les nudibranches de Cuthbert Collingwood. Journal de Conchyliologie 79:111-129.
    Rudman W.B. et al. 1998 2010. Chromodoris elegantula accessed through: Sea Slug Forum on 2014-12-14. Available from http://seaslugforum.net/showall/chroeleg.
    Sabelli B, Gianuzzi-Savelli R, Bedulli D. 1990. Catalogo annotato dei Molluschi marini del Mediterraneo. Libreria Naturalistica Bolognese. Bologna, Italy: 348 pp.
    Schmekel L, Portmann A. 1982. Opisthobranchia des Mittelmeeres, Nudibranchia und Saccoglossa. Fauna e Flora del Golfo Napoli. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 410 p.
    Templado J, Villanueva R. 2010. Checklist of Phylum Mollusca. pp. 148-198 In Coll, M., et al., 2010. The biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: estimates, patterns, and threats. PLoS ONE 5(8):36pp.
    Thompson TE. 1980. Jamaican opisthobranch molluscs II. J. Molluscan Stud. 46(1):74-99.
    Tiberi N. 1880. I molluschi nudibranchi del Mediterraneo. Bullettino della Societa Malacologica Italiana 6:182-242.
    Trainito E. 2005. Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo : guida al riconoscimento dei molluschi opistobranchi. Trezzano sul Naviglio (Milano): Il Castello.
    Trainito E, Doneddu M. 2014. Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo. 2nd. Il Castello. 192 p.
    Trainito E, Trainito S. 2003. Mediterranean harlequins : a field guide to Mediterranean sea slugs. Olbia (SS), Italia: Taphros.
    Troschel FH. 1847. Mollusca. Reports on Zoology for 1843, 1844. Translated from the German By  George Busk, Alfred Tulk, & Alexander H. Haliday The Ray Society 413-445.
    Türkmen A, Demirsoy A. 2009. Contributions to the Eastern Mediterranean Opisthobranchia (Mollusca: Gastropoda) Fauna of Turkey. Turkish Journal of Zoology. 33(1):57–68. Available from ://WOS:000263384100008.
    Vayssiere AJBM. 1913. Mollusques de la France et des regions voisines, tome premier, amphineures, gasteropodes opisthobranches, heteropodes, marseniades et oncidiides. Encyclopedie Scientifique, publiee sous la direction du Dr Toulouse, Bibliotheque de Zoologie Doin, Paris; pp 1-420, I-XII, pls. 1-37.
    Vicente N. 2008. 100 & une limaces de mer : guide d’identification des Mollusques Opisthobranches d’Atlantique et de Méditerranée. Challes-les-Eaux: Éd. GAP.
    WoRMS Editorial Board. 2023. World Register of Marine Species. WoRMS. Available from http://www.marinespecies.org.

    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:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas (2023) "Felimida elegantula" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 11/09/2014. Accessed: 20/04/2024. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/?p=14255)

To copy this cite click on the right button.