Trapania maculata

Trapania maculata Haefelfinger, 1960

Trapania maculata by Enric Madrenas













































Trapania maculata  Haefelfinger, 1960

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 140044).
This species can reach 15-20 mm in length. The body is whitish, almost transparent in the areas with no viscera, but it is clearly identified by the yellow or orange spots spots on the dorsal part of the head, oral and buccal palps, rhinophores, dorsum, body side walls, gill leaves and tail. The shape and arrangement of these spots varies among specimens. There are two pairs of tentaculiform pallial bumps of the same colour raising from the base of each rhinophore and the base of the gills. The rhinophores are whitish or semitransparent in the base, but the lamellae and apex are yellow. Three gill tripinnate leaves surround the anal papilla. The gill leaves have the central shaft and the lamellae coloured yellow while the rest is semi-transparent white. The tail has a fairly constant elongated yellow stain on its dorsal area.

This species of nudibranch can be found in dark rock walls, wandering or on different species of sponges. It seems that it feed on the endoprocta living on sponges rather than feeding on sponges. Spawn of Trapania maculata is formed by a transparent gelatinous ribbon 3-4 mm high, irregularly coiled, with irregularly placed white eggs: on top of the ribbon there are 10 to 15 eggs in two layers but only 4-5 eggs at the end of the ribbon, where it is narrower.


  • Trapania. The original generic name of this species was Drepania, proposed by Lafont in 1874. Pruvot-Fol in 1931 proposed changing the generic name to Trapania to disambiguate it from Drepania Hübner, 1816 (a group of lepidoptera). Madame Pruvot-Fol does not indicate the origin of the name, but there are two theories: the first would be dedicated to the city of Trapani, the province capital of western Sicily; the second would be inspired on the original generic name Drepania, derived from the Greek “Drepane” which means “sickle” and presumably refers to the shape of the appendages located on the sides of the rhinophores and gills in this genus. Pruvot Fol would have chosen the new name on the basis that it has the same meaning, but not the same sound and thus avoid confusion.
  • Maculata, from Latin maculatus, meaning “stained”.

This is a species that has been cited throughout the European coasts, both Atlantic and Mediterranean, and all around the Iberian Peninsula coasts. In Catalonia it is a common species throughout the rocky coastline.

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

References for the species: Trapania maculata

    Cantabria: Ortea (1977c), Cervera and García-Gómez (1989c), Ávila Escartín (1993). Galicia: Ortea (1977c), Urgorri and Besteiro (1983, 1984). Andalucía (Atl.): Cervera and García-Gómez (1989c). Gibraltar: Cervera and García-Gómez (1989c), García-Gómez et al. (1989). Andalucía (Med.): Cervera and García-Gómez (1989c), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a), Ocaña et al. (2000). Levante: Ballesteros et al. (1986), Templado, Talavera and Murillo (1987), Templado et al. (2002), Cervera and García-Gómez (1989c). Catalunya: Ros (1975, 1978b), Ballesteros (1980, 1985), Altimira et al. (1981), Pereira & Ballesteros (1982), Huelin & Ros (1984), Cervera & García-Gómez (1989a), Ávila (1993), M@re Nostrum [Cala Rovellada (Colera) 3/2001]. Baleares: Templado (1982a), Ávila Escartín (1993).

    General: Brown & Picton, 1976:63; 1979:10; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi-Savelli, 1990:45[P]; Picton & Morrow, 1994:58[P]; Thompson, 1988:168[P]; Thompson & Brown, 1976:88; 1984:48[P]

    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 Trapania maculata based on our own records.


Trapania maculata by Pascal Girard


More pictures


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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2020) "Trapania maculata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 15/05/2012, Accessed: 07/08/2020 at (

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