Tayuva lilacina

Tayuva lilacina (Gould, 1852)

Tayuva lilacina by Enric Madrenas













































Tayuva lilacina  (A. Gould, 1852)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 578710).
Taxonomic note: Tayuva lilacina has been regarded as belonging to the species Discodoris maculosa Bergh, 1884 until recently. The recent and thorough review made of the Discodorididae by Dayrat (2010. A Monographic revisión of basal  discodoridid sea slugs. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sciences, (4), 61, supl. I:1-403) based on morphological characters and internal anatomy has evidenced the existence of synonymous species in different oceans and has reduced the number of valid species inside of the Discodorididae family. Such is the case of Discodoris maculosa a well known Mediterranean species that has been included in the species Tayuva lilacina, an species of wide tropical and temperate seas (like the Mediterranean) distribution. The species Discodoris maculosa is accepted as T. lilacina in the WoRMS (World Register of Marine Species) and CLEMAM (Check List of European Marine Mollusks), two of the most serious and updated taxonomic organizations on line. However, it could be that with new molecular phylogeny studies, it was found that Tayuva lilacina was a complex of different species masked with a very similar morphology.


  • Chromodoris lilacina (Gould, 1852)
  • Discodoris confusa Ballesteros, Llera & Ortea, 1985
  • Discodoris ketos (Ev. Marcus & Er. Marcus, 1967)
  • Discodoris lilacina (Gould, 1852)
  • Discodoris maculosa Bergh, 1884
  • Discodoris palma Allan, 1933
  • Doris lilacina Gould, 1852 (original)
  • Peltodoris crucis (Mörch, 1863) sensu Bergh, 1880
  • Tayuva ketos Marcus & Marcus, 1967
  • Tayuva ketos gila Marcus & Marcus, 1970
  • Tayuva ketos juva Marcus & Marcus, 1970
  • Tayuva ketos ketos Marcus & Marcus, 1967

This is a medium to large doridacean species whose Mediterranean specimens can reach 60 mm in length. The body is flattened and of leathery texture. The general coloration of the back is brownish-gray with abundant rounded greenish-brown different sized spots. All the back is adorned with numerous small conical tubercles tightly placed. In some samples there could be a kind of discontinuous middle dorsal white line running from the inter-rhinophoric area to the gill area, and is formed by the alignment of white tubercles. The entire back of the animal, including tubercles has abundant internal spiculation. The rhinophores are slightly yellowish with brown lamellae and the apex has the shape of a club; the rhinophoric sheath has 12-14 small tubercles along its upper margin. There are 6 tripinnate gills with yellowish-white leaves surrounding the anal papilla; the branchial sheath is slightly elevated and has a lobed top edge. The underside of the mantle and the sidewalls of the body have abundant brownish-red spots of different sizes. The foot is quite wide, whitish but with numerous reddish-brown stains and marks. The mouth has two short white oral palps.

This species is usually located at shallow depth under stones, from tidal pools to several meters deep. In this habitat, because of its coloration and flattened appearance, the animals may easily overlooked or being confused with encrusting sponges, on which they feed as other members of the family Discodorididae. The spawn is a whitish spiral of about 20 mm in diameter filled with 90 microns eggs.


  • Lilacina a reference to the lilac tone of the body colouring of this species.

According to the review of the family by Dayrat (2010), this would be a species with a wide tropical and temperate seas distribution, found in the Caribbean (cited as Peltodoris cruci, Tayuva ketos and Peltodoris hummelincki), the Canary islands and Cape Verde islands (quoted as Discodoris confusa), Eastern Pacific (quoted as Tayuva ketos), Galapagos islands and Indo-Pacific (cited as Doris lilacina, Discodoris lilacina, Discodoris concinna, Discodoris fragilis and Tayuva ketos), Red Sea, South Africa, Australia and Hawaii, Mediterranean and European Atlantic coasts. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been cited on the Cantabrian coast, in the Strait of Gibraltar, in the Andalusian Mediterranean coast, on the Levantine coast and in Catalonia. In the Catalan coast it has been observed in northern Costa Brava (Sant Antoni and Es Caials in Cadaqués and Cap Falco in Roses), among other places.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Tayuva lilacina
: 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 Tayuva lilacina based on our own records.

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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, M., Madrenas, E. & Pontes, M. (2023) "Tayuva lilacina" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 16/05/2012. Accessed: 20/04/2024. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/?p=488)

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