Geitodoris pusae

Geitodoris pusae (Er. Marcus, 1955)

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













































Geitodoris pusae  (Er. Marcus, 1955)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139582).
Taxonomic note: According to Alvin and Pimenta (2013), Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic specimens of G. pusae belong to a diferent species than those from the Western Atlantic because of a series of different morphological traits: “Geitodoris pusae was recorded from the Canary Islands and Mediterranean Sea (Ortea et al.1988; Ortea,1990; Tocino et al. 2006). We observed important morphological differences between these earlier descriptions and the specimens collected from Brazil. The specimens described by Ortea et al. (1988); Ortea (1990) and Tocino et al. (2006) present serrations in the marginal teeth of the radula (when these serrations are present) restricted to the distal part of the tooth, whereas in the specimens from Brazil the serrated portion occurs in all concave surfaces of the teeth. Furthermore, in specimens from Europe, a denticle in the innermost lateral tooth, even incipient, has never been reported. In European specimens, the gill is always brown with lighter tips and the branchial sheath is the same tone as the rest of the mantle; however, in Brazilian specimens the branchial leaves located anteriorly are beige, the more posterior branchial leaves are translucent orange, and the smooth branchial sheath is also beige. Ortea et al. (1988) and Ortea (1990) illustrated the reproductive system as presenting a narrow and long vestibular gland with an elongated shape and a long duct, whereas in specimens from Brazil, the vestibular gland is rounded with a short duct, more similar to the description of Tocino et al. (2006) for Mediterranean specimens. The differences that were observed in all specimens from Europe, in terms of coloration, gill morphology, and radula, lead us to consider the species from Europe as distinct from Western Atlantic G. pusae”. Until a molecular phylogeny is conducted we keep the Mediterranean specimens from Granada as G. pusae.


  • Discodoris pusae Marcus Er., 1955

Body elliptical, dorsally flattened, up to 40 mm long alive and coloured from beige to brown, sometimes orange, with several dark brown irregular stains loosely arranged. Sometimes with beige granules shaped like a star, aligned behind the rhinophores. Mantle densely covered by somewhat rounded tubercles of different sizes and irregularly distributed that give it a coriaceous texture; tubercles are smaller in the mantle edge and in center of mantle, and bigger along the sides of mantle, specially in the center of the beige-whitish star-shaped dorsal marks. Mantle also has a net like structure with a gland in the middle of each net cell, whose external orifices can be observed in preserved specimens. The underside of the mantle is coloured smooth orange. Rhinophoral sheaths are prominent, densely covered by tubercles, occasionally with some granules. Rhinophores are of the same colour as the body, and have a cylindrical stem, with a white tip and 12-17 diagonal distal perfoliations that occassionally bear some whitish spots. Branchial sheath is prominent and smooth, without any tubercles, coloured beige in the frontmost side. Gills have 6-8 retractile, tripinnate branchial leaves, growing symmetrically along the dorsal median line. The anterior branch leaves are coloured beige while the rearmost are translucent orange. The two branchial leaves on the rear surround the high anal papilla. Foot is narrower than the mantle, on the anterior side is grooved and notched forming two “lips” and it has two short and conical (digitiform in European specimens) oral tentacles, while on the rear side it forms a rounded tail.

Probably feeds on sponges. The spawn is a white spiral ribbon with crenulated border of 5-19 mm of diameter and 2 mm of height, with about 2.5–3.5 whorls laid in counterclockwise direction. Eggs form numerous rows of many tiny eggs irregularly disposed in capsules of about 50 microns. Little else is known from its biology.


  • Geitodoris. From Greek “geitonos”, neighbor (meaning close or similar) + “Doris”, in Greek mythology, the wife of Nereus, a sea nymph and mother of the Nereids.
  • Pusae. Del Latín “pusa”, niña, niña pequeña.

Originally described from Ilha de São Sebastião, São Paulo, Brazil, it has been later reported at Florida (USA), Puerto Rico & Curaçao (Ev. Marcus, 1977); Costa Rica & Martinique (Valdés et al., 2006); Jamaica (Thompson, 1980); Brazil: Pará state (Ev. MARCUS, 1970); Alagoas state (Padula et al. , 2012); Rio de Janeiro state: Cabo Frio, Arraial do Cabo (Alvim & Pimenta, 2013), Búzios (Domínguez, 2006), Angra dos Reis (Alvim & Pimenta, 2013); São Paulo state: Ilha de São Sebastião (Er. Marcus, 1955), Ilhabela e Ilha das Cabras (Domínguez, 2006); Argentina (Ev. Marcus, 1977). There are records of this species in the Eastern Atlantic (Madeira and Canary islands) and the Mediterranean (Granada, Spain) that we accept as G. pusae until proven otherwise.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Geitodoris pusae
: 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 Geitodoris pusae based on our own records.



More pictures


    Alvim, J., and A. Dias-Pimenta. 2013. Taxonomic review of the family Discodorididae from Brazil, with descriptions of two new species. Zootaxa, 3745(2): 152-198.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2023. OPK - Opistobranquis. (
    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.
    Frank, B. et al. 1998. Geitodoris pusae accessed through: on 2014-12-14. (
    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.
    Long, S. J. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    Marcus, E. G. 1955. Opisthobranchia from Brazil. Boletim da Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciencias e Letras, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Zoology, 207, 20:89-261, pls. 1-30.
    Marcus, Er. 1957. On opisthobranchia from Brazil 2. Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Zoology) 43(292): 390-486.
    McDonald, G. 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia. 2nd Online Edition, Annotated. 1072 pp  Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. (
    Miller, M. C. 1996. A new species of the dorid nudibranch genus Geitodoris Bergh, 1892 (Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia) from New Zealand. Journal of Molluscan Studies. 62: 433–442.
    Moro, L., J. L. Martín Esquivel, M. J. Garrido Sanahuja, and I. Izquierdo Zamora. 2003. Lista de especies marinas de Canarias (algas, hongos, plantas y animales). Consejería de Política Territorial y Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Canarias.
    Ortea, J. 1995. Estudio de las especies atlanticas de Paradoris Bergh, 1884 (Mollusca: Nudibranchia: Discodorididae) recolectadas en las Islas Canarias. Avicennia 3: 5-28.
    Ortea, J. 1990. El género Geitodoris Bergh, 1894 (Mollusca: Nudibranchia) en las islas Canarias. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias 2: 99-121.
    Ortea, J., A. A. Luque, and J. Templado. 1988. Elysia picta Verrill, 1901 and Geitodoris pusae (Marcus, 1955), two amphiatlantic opisthobranchs. Journal of Molluscan Studies 54 (2): 243-247.
    Ortea, J. A., L. Moro, J. J. Bacallado, and R. Herrera. 2001. Catálogo actualizado de los Moluscos Opistobranquios de las Islas Canarias. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias. 12: 105–136.
    Sánchez Tocino, L., A. Ocaña, and J. L. Cervera. 2006. Geitodoris pusae (Marcus, 1955) y Geitodoris  bacalladoi Ortea, 1990, dos especies de Doridoidea (Mollusca: Nudibranchia) nuevas para el Mar  Mediterraneo. Iberus, Revista de la Sociedad Española de Malacologia 24(1):5-12.
    Sánchez-Tocino, L. 2018. El Litoral de Granada - Opistobranquios. El Litoral de Granada. (
    Templado, J., and R. Villanueva. 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.
    Templado, J., A. A. Luque, and J. A. Ortea. 1991. A commented check-list of the amphiatlantic Ascoglossa and Nudibranchia (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia). Lavori della Societa Italiana di Malacologia 23:295-326.
    Trainito, E., and M. Doneddu. 2014. Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo, 2nd. ed. Il Castello.
    Turgeon, D., J. F. Quinn, A. E. Bogan, E. V. Coan, F. G. Hochberg, W. G. Lyons, P. M. Mikkelsen, R. J. Neves, C. F. E. Roper, G. Rosenberg, B. Roth, A. Scheltema, F. G. Thompson, M. Vecchione, and J. D. Williams. 1998. Common and scientific names of aquatic invertebrates from the United States and Canada: mollusks. 2nd ed. American Fisheries Society Special Publication, 26.
    Valdés, Á. 2001. Deep-sea cryptobranch dorid nudibranchs (Mollusca, Opisthobranchia) from the tropical West Pacific, with descriptions of two new genera and eighteen new species. Malacologia 43 (1-2) : 237-311.
    Valdés, A., J. Hamann, D. W. Behrens, and A. DuPont. 2006. Caribbean sea slugs: a field guide to the opisthobranch mollusks from the tropical northwestern Atlantic. Washington: Sea Challengers Natural History Books. 289 pp.
    WoRMS Editorial Board. 2023. World Register of Marine Species. WoRMS. (

    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) "Geitodoris pusae" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 22/02/2015. Accessed: 27/02/2024. Available at (

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