Felimida luteopunctata

Felimida luteopunctata (Gantès, 1962)

Felimida luteopunctata @ Tarifa (Spain) by Manuel Martínez Chacón
















































Felimida luteopunctata  (Gantès, 1962)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 597449).

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.

A long time controversy exists over the specimens of Felimida luteopunctata and Felimida luteorosea cited in the Canary Islands. Since the description of Felimida rodomaculata by Ortea and Valdés (1992), the anatomy and colour patterns compared with the other Atlantic species of the “Felimida luteorosea” group (Felimida luteorosea, Felimida luteopunctata and Felimida rolani) it was determined as a distinct species. However, in January 2001, Dr. Ángel Valdés (the second author of the original work) posted a comment in Sea Slug Forum regarding Felimida rodomaculata being just a color variant of Felimida luteopunctata, the rest of anatomical details being essentially identical. Cervera et al. (2004) support this opinion considering Felimida rodomaculata a junior synonym of Felimida luteopunctata, since the colour differences used to establish the former were very weak. Ortea et al. (2011), the first author of the original article, refuted these opinions based on the fact that they obviated the diferent radular anatomy of both species. Furthermore, Ortea stated that all Canarian reports of Felimida luteorosea and Felimida luteopunctata are invalid and that Felimida rodomaculata is the only valid species in the Canary Islands, where it would be endemic. However, the results of the genetic analysis presented in the work by Moles & Riesgo (2019) on the supposed Felimida rodomaculata indicate that this species is, in fact, a chromatic variation of Felimida luteopunctata and, therefore, it is not a different species.


  • Chromodoris luteopunctata (Gantès, 1962)
  • Glossodoris luteopunctata Gantès, 1962 (original)

The body is elongated, up to 30mm long, and quite high. The base color of the body and mantle is translucent purple, with some darker zones on the mantle. There is a broad yellow band around the mantle edge, inside of which is a thin brownish red zone, and inside this a broad bluish band. The reddish zone seems to be caused by the overlapping of the yellow and violet pigments and the broad inner bluish band is caused by the underlying opaque white mantle glands being obscured by the violet pigmentation of the mantle skin, so the blue band then varies from animal to animal depending on the development of the mantle glands. The mantle is covered with scattered opaque white and yellow spots of varying sizes. Usually the inner ones are white and smaller and the outer ones yellow and larger, but sometimes there are small yellow spots, or large white spots with a yellow centre that may appear “eroded” inside (Cervera, 2001 in Sea Slug Forum). Smaller specimens usually have less intense purple pigmentation and so they appear with a translucent violet-grey mantle. In small specimens the mantle glands are less obscured and so their reticulate is clearly visible, with their branching nature more obvious than in larger animals. The rhinophores are reddish-purple, darker towards the tip, but with a translucent white tip. The lamellae on the rhinophore club have small bluish white spots in adults, but these are absent in juveniles. The gills are similar in colour to the body, and have the same small whitish spots found on the rhinophores.

Felimida luteopunctata is very similar to Felimida luteorosea: The small white spots on the gills and rhinophores have previously been considered a good character separating these species, but there are many pictures in the Internet (i.e. in Sea Slug Forum) showing similar spots in specimens of both species. The shape, size and colour of the spots on the mantle has also been used to separate these two species: Felimida luteopunctata is said to have small, irregular yellow spots in the center of the mantle, and larger spots on the mantle margin, but often the small spots are white and the larger spots are white with a yellow center. On the other hand F. luteorosea has a fairly even scattering of large spots [white with yellow centre] interspersed with a few small white or yellow spots. The only consistent difference seems to be that in F. luteorosea large spots have a smooth round edge while in F. luteopunctata the edge of larger spots is very irregular. As stated in the taxonomic note, there was a long time controversy over the identity of Felimida rodomaculata in the Canary Islands, but it was resolved in favor of Felimida luteopunctata.

This species feeds on sponges of the genus Ircina (Gantés, 1962). The spawn consists of a semitransparent ribbon wound in an almost 3 turn spiral of about 15-20 mm in diameter (picture by Poddubetskaia, 2003 in Sea Slug Forum, 2010); the ribbon is almost 3 mm high and contains white eggs tightly arranged in lines, having about 15-16 eggs in each line. Found from the intertidal zone down to 40 m.


  • Luteopunctata. From Latin “luteus”, yellow + “punctatus”,  pointed,  punctuated,  with spots.

Originally described from Morocco, it is considered an Atlantic species which has only been recorded extending into the Mediterranean as far as the Straits of Gibraltar, where it has been reported, in the Atlantic coast of Northern Africa down to Senegal (Poddubetskaia, 26/05/2003 in Sea Slug Forum 2010). Also present in the Canary Islands where it was known as Felimida rodomaculata.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Felimida luteopunctata
: 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:1 out of 5 stars

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Felimida luteopunctata based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2021) "Felimida luteopunctata" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 05/10/2013. Accessed: 03/08/2021. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/log5D)

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