Thordisa azmanii

Thordisa azmanii Cervera & García-Gómez, 1989

Thordisa azmanii @ Bajo O Champiñon, Ria de Arousa, Galicia, Spain 10-06-2011 in 22m by Jacinto Pérez Dieste (GEMM)













































Thordisa azmanii  Cervera & García-Gómez, 1989

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139590).
Nota taxonómica: Ortea & Martínez (1991) consider that this species is the same as Thordisa diuda Marcus, 1955 but this proposal has been rebutted by Cervera et al (2004) and by Alvim & Dias-Pimenta (2013).

The oval shaped body can reach a maximum size of about 15mm. It is coloured from orange to dark brown, with a convex notum and a spiculous texture. The mantle, whose edges have small white dots, is covered with spiculated conical shaped tubercles of different sizes, the largest ones are stained in white at the tips, and the smaller ones appear aligned at the edges of the mantle and rhinophoric and gill sheaths, giving them an irregular appearance. The lower part of the mantle shows the radial arrangement of the spicules in the tissue, as well as branched spiculous groups. The foot, coloured light yellow, has two lobes and is spiculous, and occasionally extends behind the mantle when the animal is in movement. The rear edge of the foot has tiny white spots. The oral tentacles are short and have a cylindrical shape. The dark brown rhinophores have between 9 and 11 lamellae, the tips of the 3 or 4 more distal are stained white. The branchial plume has 5 to 7 bipinnate leaves, coloured dark brown in its basal part and white in the distal part, surrounding the anal papilla.

The specimens found in Galicia (Almón et al., 2011) lived on sponges of the Raspailia genus: specifically Raspailia hispida (Montagu, 1818), Raspailia (Raspailia) ramosa (Montagu, 1818) and Raspailia (Raspailia) cf. viminalis (Schmidt, 1862) and they are supposed to feed on them, but this point has not been proven. The spawn consists of a light yellow ribbon, fixed by one of its sides to the substrate -generally on the sponge-, wound in a spiral of between one and two turns, with eggs of about 100 microns in diameter, arranged transversely in rows of about 25 in two overlapping layers (Ortea et Martínez, 1990). Observed at a certain distance, the general appearance of this nudibranch is similar to that of the bryozoan Cellepora pumicosa, which could be understood as a form of camouflage in which the animal adopts the appearance of a species unattractive for predators. The spiculous notum facilitates the retention of marine debris in the same way Raspailia sponges do, so they can pass unadverted to predators.


  • Thordisa. Woman name of Old Norse origin, cited in the Sagas. A fair woman to look on, high-minded, and rather hard of heart.
  • Azmanii, in honor of Dr. J. Azmani (M.D.), “who eliminated a chronic ailment of one of us” (Cervera et García-Gómez, 1989).

This species has been cited on the Atlantic coasts of the Iberian Peninsula: in Cádiz (Cervera & García Gómez, 1989), in Portugal (García Gómez, 1991), in the Ría de Arousa, Galicia (Almon et al., 2011) and in Cudillero, Asturias (Ortea & Martínez, 1990 as T.diuda). The specimens from Asturias and Cádiz were collected in the intertidal, while those from Galicia were found at 20 meters of depth, so its bathymetric distribution is not clear. It has also been found off the coast of St. Agnes, Cornwall, Great Britain (Picton, 1978 [in] Medslugs) and at Ouessant, French Brittany (Roche, F. [in] NE Atlantic Nudibranchs, 2018), also at the Azores (Chan & Gosliner, 2007). There is a report from Cape Verde (Ortea & Cabrera, 1999) as T.diuda which probably corresponds to T.azmanii, as the authors assimilate it to the findings from Northern Spain, although Alvim & Pimenta (2013) indicate that is not T.diuda. There are very few records of this species in the Mediterranean Sea: so far it has only been found in Granada (Sánchez Tocino et al., 2000) and at L’Escala, Girona, Spain (Madrenas, E. pers. comm.). Federico Betti’s find in Numana, Italy in 2010, has verified that it does not belong to the genus Thordisa, but to the genus Doris.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Thordisa azmanii
: 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 Thordisa azmanii based on our own records.

More pictures


    Almón B, Pérez Dieste J, Trigo JE. 2010. New biological aspects of Thordisa azmanii in the Ría de Arousa (NW Spain).
    Alvim J, Dias-Pimenta A. 2013. Taxonomic review of the family Discodorididae from Brazil, with descriptions of two new species. Zootaxa, 3745(2): 152-198.
    Ballesteros M, Pontes M, Cervera JL. 2023. The genus Thordisa Bergh, 1877 (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) in the Iberian Peninsula. Butlletí Institució Catalana d’Història Natural. 87(2):87–96.
    Ballesteros M, Madrenas E, Pontes M. 2024. OPK - Opistobranquis. Available from
    Calado G, Urgorri V. 1998. Additions and new data on Portuguese Opisthobranchs. Bollettino Malacologico 35 (5- 8): 97-102.
    Calado G, Urgorri V, Gaspar R, et al. 1999. Catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios bentónicos de las costas de Setúbal-Espichel (Portugal). Nova Acta Científica Compostelana (Bioloxía) 9: 285-294.
    Calado G, Malaquias M, Gavaia C, et al. 2003. New data on opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from the southwestern coast of Portugal. Boletín Instituto Español de Oceanografía 19 (1-4): 199-204.
    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.
    Cervera JL, García-Gómez JC. 1989. A new species of the genus Thordisa (Molusca: Nudibranchia) from the southwestern Iberian Peninsula. The Veliger 32 (4): 382-389.
    Cervera JL, Calado G, Gavaia C, et al. 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.
    Garcia FJ, Bertsch H. 2009. Diversity and distribution of the Gastropoda Opisthobranchia from the Atlantic Ocean: A global biogeographic approach. Scientia Marina. 73(1):153–160.
    García-Gómez JC. 2002. Paradigmas de una fauna insólita; Los moluscos opistobranquios del estrecho de Gibraltar (Serie Ciencias) 20: 397 pp. Instituto de Estudios Gibraltareños. Algeciras, Cádiz, Spain.
    García-Gómez JC, Cervera JL, García FJ, et al. 1991. Resultados de la campaña internacional de biología marina “Algarve 88”: moluscos opistobranquios. Bollettino Malacologico 27 (5-9): 125-138.
    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
    Menéndez JL, Oliveros J. 2004 2015. Thordisa azmanii accessed through: AsturNatura on 2015-02-05. Available from
    Ortea J, Cabrera A. 1999. Primer registro de Thordisa diuda Marcus, 1955 (Mollusca: Nudibranchia: Discodorididae) en las Islas de Cabo Verde. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias 11 (3-4): 87-92.
    Ortea J, Martínez E. 1990. Captura en la Concha de Artedo de Thordisa diuda Marcus, 1955 (Nudibranchia: Doridacea), un nuevo molusco anfiatlántico. Boletín de Ciencias de la Naturaleza del Instituto de Estudios Asturianos 40: 3-11.
    Rudman W.B. et al. 1998 2010. Thordisa azmanii accessed through: Sea Slug Forum on 2014-12-14. Available from
    Sánchez-Tocino L. 2018. El Litoral de Granada - Opistobranquios. El Litoral de Granada. Available from
    Trainito E, Doneddu M. 2014. Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo. 2nd. Il Castello. 192 p.
    WoRMS Editorial Board. 2023. World Register of Marine Species. WoRMS. Available from

    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, M., Madrenas, E. & Pontes, M. (2023) "Thordisa azmanii" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 04/02/2018. Accessed: 28/05/2024. Available at (

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