Platydoris argo

Platydoris argo (Linné, 1767)

Platydoris argo by Enric Madrenas













































Platydoris argo  (Linnaeus, 1767)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 140792).

  • Doris argo Linnaeus, 1767 (original)
  • Doris canariensis d’Orbigny, 1839
  • Doris infravalvata Abraham, 1877
  • Doris subtumida Abraham, 1877 
  • Platydoris dura Pruvot-Fol, 1951
  • Platydoris philippi Bergh, 1877

The largest specimens of this species can reach about 10 cm in length. The body is very flat (the genus name refers to this trait) and of leathery consistence. The color of the back is a nearly uniform reddish brown and can have many small white scores scattered around the mantle, forming roughly defined spots and sometimes drawing two or three spots on each side of the back. The dorsum is very broad and covers completely the foot, having a somewhat scalloped edge. Under binocular lens it can be seen that the entire back is covered with small conical protuberances and spicules. The rhinophores are somewhat darker than the back, have 15-20 lamellae and can be fully retracted into the body; the rhinophoric sheath is slightly elevated. The gill consists of six tripinnate type gill leaves and is darker than the back due to presence of small brown spots, the tips of the gill leaves is usually white because they are spotted with this color. Gill can fully retract into the body and then the 6 lobed gill hole can be seen, arranged transversally to the body. Ventral mantle is yellowish and has numerous smaller brown spots located externally and the larger ones corresponding to those found near the foot. This is orange and quite narrow, having its leading edge creased and furrowed. Foot sidewalls also have brown spots. The mouth is flanked by a pair of short digitiform oral palps.

This large doridacean species can be located under rocks or in rock walls with an abundance of seaweeds, sponges and bryozoans from a few meters deep. Some specimens can be caught deeper in commercial trawl fisheries among the bycatch. Because of their color, many individuals, especially those living in rocky walls are perfectly cryptic with the substrate and difficult to spot. They can feed on sponges such as Crambe crambe, on or around which they can be seen while diving, although it could also eat bryozoans of the genus Sertella in coraligenous bottoms. Some authors erroneously cite it feeds on algae. The spawn consists of a yellow strip about 10 mm high, scalloped and rolled into a several turns spiral that can be 3-4 cm in diameter.


  • Platýs. Greek word meaning “broad”.
  • Doris. Marine nymph of the Greek mythology.
  • Argo . This specific name refers to the white spots of this species, which are compared with eyes. A mythological legend explains that Argos was a prince of Argos or Argolis. He had a hundred eyes of which he always had fifty opened.

This species has been known for almost three centuries as it was described by Linnaeus with the genus Doris in 1767. Since then it seems to have a fairly limited geographical distribution, as far as it is known, limited to the Mediterranean Sea (both eastern and western basins), Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Madeira, Azores and the Iberian Peninsula, where it is quoted without interruption from the Portuguese to the Catalan shores. Also present in the Balearic islands. In Catalonia it has been cited in Cala Sant Antoni and Es Caials (Cadaques), L’Escala, Illes Medes (L’Estartit), Begur, Palamos, Tossa de Mar, Cala Sant Francesc (Blanes) and in the port of Tarragona, among other locations.

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

References for the species: Platydoris argo

    Portugal: De Oliveira (1895), Hidalgo (1916), Nobre (1932), García-Gómez et al. (1991), Calado et al. (1999). Andalucía (Atl.): Templado et al. (1993b). Gibraltar: Ros (1975), García-Gómez (1983), García, García-Gómez and Cervera (1988), García, García-Gómez and Medel-Soteras (1988), García and García-Gómez (1989, 1990b), García-Gómez et al. (1989), Megina (2000), Megina et al. (2002). Andalucía (Med.): Luque (1983, 1986), Ballesteros et al. (1986), Schick (1998), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a), Ocaña et al. (2000), Valdés and Ortea (2001), Peñas et al. (in press). Levante: Templado (1982b), Ballesteros (1985), Ballesteros et al. (1986), Marín and Ros (1987), Dorgan, Valdés and Gosliner (2002), Templado et al. (2002). Catalunya: Ros (1975, 1978, 1985b), Ballesteros (1980, 1985), Altimira et al. (1981), Huelin & Ros (1984), Ávila (1993), Domènech et al. (2002), Ballesteros (datos no publicados) [numerosas localidades de la Costa Brava], M@re Nostrum [Illa Pedrosa (L'Estartit) 7/1999, Mar Menuda (Tossa de Mar) 11/1998]. Baleares: Ros (1981b, 1985b), Templado (1982a), Ros and Gili (1985). Canarias: D’Orbigny (1839, as Doris canariensis), Bergh (1877, 1892), Odhner (1931, as Argus argo), Nordsieck (1972), Altimira and Ros (1979, as P. cf. argo cf. canariensis), Ortea and Bacallado (1981), Ortea, Pérez Sánchez and Llera (1982), Pérez-Sánchez and Moreno (1990), Pérez Sánchez, Bacallado and Ortea (1991), Malaquias and Calado (1997), Ortea et al. (2001), Valdés and Gosliner (2001), Dorgan, Valdés and Gosliner (2002), Moro et al. (2003), Wirtz and Debelius (2003). Madeira: Wirtz (1994, 1999), Valdés and Gosliner (2001), Malaquias et al. (2001), Dorgan, Valdés and Gosliner (2002). Azores: Bergh (1899), Wirtz and Martins (1993), Wirtz (1994, 1998), Ávila et al. (1998), Ávila (2000), Malaquias (2001), Wirtz and Debelius (2003).

    General: Barletta, 1981:73; Bergh, 1877b:497; 1884:678; 1899:15; 1905a:135; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi- Savelli, 1990:97[P]; Cesari, 1990:[P]; Fez Sanchez, 1974:112; Nobre, 1931:42; 1936:29; 1938-40:53; Nordsieck, 1972:63; Ortea, Perez, & Llera, 1981:22; Perrone, 1986a:28; Pruvot-Fol, 1954b:248; Risbec, 1956:6; 1956a:6; Schmekel & Portmann, 1982:90[P]; Vayssiere, 1913a:326; 1919:69

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


    Western Mediterranean:3 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 Platydoris argo based on our own records.



More pictures


    Affeld, S., H. Wägele, C. Avila, S. Kehraus, and G. M. Koenig. n.d. Distribution of homarine in some Opisthobranchia (Gastropoda : Mollusca). Bonner Zoologische  Beiträge 55(3-4):181-190.
    Aguado, F., and S. López González. 2015. Moluscos Nudibranquios de la Costa Tropical. Asociación Buxus & Ayuntamiento de Motril.
    Altimira, C., and J. Ros. 1979. Algunos moluscos marinos de las Islas Canarias. Vieraea 8 (1): 3-12.
    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.
    Avila, C. 1993. Sustancias naturales de moluscos opistobranquios: Estudio de su estructura, origen y función en ecosistemas bentónicos. Tesis Doctoral. Universitat de Barcelona.
    Avila, C. 1992. A preliminary catalogue of natural substances of opisthobranch molluscs from western Mediterranean and near Atlantic. Scientia Marina 56(4):373-382.
    Avila, C. 1995. Natural products of opisthobranch molluscs: a biological review. Oceanography and Mar Biol: an Annual Review 33: 487-559.
    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. 1984. Nudibranquios: miscelanea de formas y coloraciones. Immersio 3(4):20-24.
    Ballesteros, M. 1991. Els Opistobranquis. pp. 416-427. In: Historia Natural dels Països Catalans,  Invertebrats no artròpodes. Enciclopèdia Catalana. Barcelona.
    Ballesteros, M. 2007. Lista actualizada de los opistobranquios (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira. 2: 163–188.
    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., A. Barrajón, A. Luque, D. Moreno, P. Talavera, and J. Templado. 1986. Contribución al conocimiento de los Moluscos Gasterópodos marinos de Almería. Iberus, 6: 39-57.
    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., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2020. OPK - Opistobranquis. (
    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. 2019. Els nudibranquis del mar català. Brau, Figueres.
    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.
    Barletta, G., and G. Melone. 1976. Nudibranchi del Promontorio di Portofino (Genova) (Gastropoda Nudibranchia). Natura, Societa Italiana di Scienze Naturali, Milano 67(3-4):203-236.
    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.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1877. Kritische Untersuchung der Ehrenberg’schen Doriden. Deutsche Malakozoologische Gesellschaft Jahrbucher 4:45- 76.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1899. Nudibranches et Marsenia provenant des campagnes de la Princesse-Alice (1891-1897). Résultats des campagnes scientifiques accomplies sur son yacht par Albert 1er, Prince souverain de Monaco, 14: 1-45, 2 pls.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1891. Die cryptobranchiaten Dorididen. Zoologische Jahrbucher, Abtheilung fur Systematik Geographie und Biologie der Thiere 6(1):103-144.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1905. Die Opisthobranchiata der Siboga-Expedition. Monographie 50, pp. 1-248, pls. 1-20.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1877. Malacologische Untersuchungen, In: Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen von Dr Carl Gottfried Semper. Wissenschaftliche Resultate. Band 2, Theil 2, Heft 11; pp 429-494, pls. 54-57.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1884. Malacologische Untersuchungen, In: Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen von Dr Carl Gottfried Semper. Zweiter Theil. Wissenschaftliche Resultate., Vol. 2, Part. 3, Num. 15, pp 647–754, pls. G, H, J-L. ed.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1884. Report on the Nudibranchiata collected by HMS Challenger during the years 1873-1876. Zoology 10 (part 26): 1-154, pl. 1-14.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 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.
    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, L. S. R. 1908. Malacologische Untersuchungen, In: Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen von Dr Carl Gottfried Semper. Zweiter Theil. Wissenschaftliche Resultate. Band 9, Theil 6, Heft 3; pp 119-181, pls. 9-12.
    Bielecki, S., G. Cavignaux, J. M. Crouzet, and S. Grall. 2011. Des limaces de rêve.
    Calado, G., V. Urgorri, R. Gaspar, and F. J. Cristobo. 1999. Catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios bentónicos de las costas de Setúbal-Espichel (Portugal). Nova Acta Científica Compostelana (Bioloxía) 9: 285-294.
    Calvín Calvo, J. C. 1995. El ecosistema marino mediterráneo, guía de su fauna y su flora.
    Capdevila, M., and J. Folch. 2009. Fauna malacològica del Parc Subaquàtic de Tarragona (el Tarragonès, Catalunya, Espanya). SPIRA Vol. 3 Núms. 1-2 Pàg. 33-51.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R. 1986. Alcune considerazioni sui molluschi opistobranchi del Mar Ligure. Lavori Societa Italiana di Malacologia 22:85-96.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R., and A. Balduzzi. 1991. Relationship between radular morphology and food in the Doridina (Mollusca, Nudibranchia). Malacologia 32(2):211-217.
    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. 1991. The opisthobranch fauna of a Mediterranean lagoon (Stagnone di Marsala, western Sicily). Malacologia 32(2):291-299.
    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., 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.
    Chemello, R. 1986. Studio della malacofauna costiera dell’Isola di Ustica (Gastropoda). Lavori della Societa Italiana di Malacologia 22:51-76.
    Dacosta, J. M., M. Pontes, A. Ollé i Callau, and L. Aguilar. 2009. Seguiment de mol·luscs opistobranquis a la platja des Caials (Cadaqués, Alt Empordà). Contribució al catàleg del Parc Natural de Cap de Creus. Annals de l’Institut d’Estudis Empordanesos. 40: 107–130.
    Dayrat, B. 2006. A taxonomic revision of Paradoris sea slugs (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Nudibranchia, Doridina). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 147: 125-238.
    Dayrat, B. 2005. Advantages of naming species under the PhyloCode: an example of how a new species of Discodorididae (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Euthyneura, Nudibranchia, Doridina) may be named. Marine Biology Research 1: 216-232.
    Dayrat, B., and T. M. Gosliner. 2005. Species names and metaphyly: a case study in Discodorididae (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Nudibranchia, Doridina). Zoologica Scripta 34 (2).
    De Fez, S. 1974. Ascoglosos y Nudibranquios de España y Portugal. CSIC. Valencia, Spain: 325 pp.
    De Oliveira, M. P. 1895. Opisthobranches du Portugal de la collection de m Paulino d’Oliveira. O Instituto. Revista Scientifica e Litteraria, Coimbra 42:574-592.

    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, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2020) "Platydoris argo" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 16/05/2012, Accessed: 05/07/2020 at (

In order to copy this cite or text fragments you must be a registered user.