Trapania tartanella

Trapania tartanella (von Ihering, 1886)

Trapania tartanella (Atlantic) by Carlos Fernández-Cid













































Trapania tartanella  (Ihering, 1886)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 140047).
Taxonomic note: It is virtually impossible to visually distinguish specimens of Trapania hispalensis from Trapania tartanella, despite a radular analysis allows to differentiate them perfectly, according to the scheme published at Bill Rudman’s Sea Slug Forum and that we reproduce here:

Radular comparative T.hispalensis (A) and T.tartanella (B)

Radular comparative T.hispalensis (A) and T.tartanella (B)
Rudman, W.B., 2007 (Sep 20). Comment on Re: Trapania tartanella and T. hispalensis by Juan Lucas Cervera. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from Sea Slug Forum


  • Drepania tartanella von Ihering, 1886

Animals up to 15 mm in length. Body colour is almost entirely translucid white, revealing the internal organs by transparency. The upper half of the rhinophores, the oral palps, the anterior foot corners, the tip of the gill leaves, the tip of the anterior and posterior tentaculiform processes and the tip of the tail are coloured yellow. The rhinophores have 11-12 orange pigmented lamellae and on their base there is a thick, elongated papilla coloured with the same color. The gill is formed by three tripinnate gill leaves; on each side of the gill there is a thick, elongated papilla, also orange in its apical half. The tail has a white dorsal line.

In the Iberian Atlantic coast it has been observed on intertidal seaweeds like Chondrus and Cystoseira and in the infralitoral on the sponge Himeniacidon fruticosum. In the Mediterranean it has been reported on sponges of the genus Ircinia. It feeds on entoprocta that grow on sponges. It is frequently observed with endoparasitic copepods that lay eggs externally in the gill area and are very visible.


  • 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.
  • Tartanella. Related to a traditional trawling fishing art, which receives this name in Italy, used by men working on land recovering a big net previously laid encircling the fishing area. Apparently the specimen used for the species description was fished in Naples with this art.


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

References for the species: Trapania tartanella

    Cantabria: Ortea, Quero, Rodriguez, & Valdes, 1989:242; Templado, Luque, & Moreno, 1988:16; Templado et al. (1993a). Galicia: Urgorri and Besteiro (1983). Portugal: García-Gómez et al. (1991), Calado et al. (1999, 2003). Andalucía (Atl.): Cervera, García-Gómez and Megina (2000). Andalucía (Med.): Templado, Luque and Moreno (1988).

    General: Vayssiere, 1913a:356

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


    Western Mediterranean:0 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 tartanella based on our own records.

More pictures


    Ballesteros, M., M. Pontes, and E. Madrenas. 2019. Els nudibranquis del mar català. Brau, Figueres.
    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.
    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.
    Calado, G., M. Malaquias, C. Gavaia, J. L. Cervera, C. Megina, B. Dayrat, Y. Camacho, M. Pola, and C. Grance. 2003. New data on opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from the southwestern coast of Portugal. Boletín Instituto Español de Oceanografía 19 (1-4): 199-204.
    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.
    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.
    Cervera, J. L., and J. C. García-Gómez. 1989. Dos nuevas especies de Trapania Pruvot-Fol, 1931 (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia) del sur de España. Bollettino Malacologico 24 (9-12): 189-204.
    Cervera, J. L., J. C. García-Gómez, and C. Megina. 2000. A new species of Trapania Pruvot-Fol, 1931 from the Bay of Cadiz, with remarks on other Trapania species (Nudibranchia: Goniodorididae). Ophelia 52(1): 17-24.
    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.
    Debelius, H., and R. H. Kuiter. 2007. Nudibranchs of the world. IKAN- Unterwasserarchiv, Frankfurt.
    Flanders Marine Institute. 2018. Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase: Territorial Seas. Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase. (
    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.
    García-Gómez, J. C. 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, J. C., J. L. Cervera, F. J. García, J. A. Ortea, S. F. García-Martin, A. Medina, and L. P. Burnay. 1991. Resultados de la campaña internacional de biología marina “Algarve 88”: moluscos opistobranquios. Bollettino Malacologico 27 (5-9): 125-138.
    Gosliner, T. M., and S. J. Fahey. 2008. Systematics of Trapania (Mollusca: Nudibranchia: Goniodorididae) with descriptions of 16 new species. Systematics and Biodiversity 6(1): 53-98.
    Ihering, H. 1886. Beiträge zur kenntnis der Nudibranchien des Mittelmeeres. Part 2. Malakozoologische Blätter N.F. 8: 12-48 [1886].
    Long, S. J. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    Malaquias, M. A. E., and P. M. Morenito. 2000. The Opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) of the Coastal Lagoon “Ria Formosa” in Southern Portugal. Bollettino Malacologico 36 (5-8): 117-124.
    Marcus, Er. 1957. On opisthobranchia from Brazil 2. Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Zoology) 43(292): 390-486.
    Martínez-Chacón, M. 2018. Nudibranquios de la isla de Tarifa, pequeñas joyas del estrecho de Gibraltar. Junta de Andalucía. Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio.
    McDonald, G. 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia. 2nd Online Edition, Annotated. 1072 pp  Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. (
    Menéndez, J. L., and J. Oliveros. 2004. Trapania tartanella accessed through: AsturNatura on 2015-02-05. (
    Naya Garmendia, L. M. 2016. Nudibranquios de la Costa Vasca: el pequeño Cantábrico multicolor. Aquarium de Donostia-San Sebastián.
    Ortea, J. A., A. Quero, G. Rodriguez, and A. Valdés. 1989. Redescripción de Trapania tartanella (Ihering, 1986) (Mollusca: Nudibranchia). Bollettino Malacologico 25 (5-8): 241-246.
    Pruvot Fol, A. 1931. Notes de systematique sur les opisthobranches. Bulletin du Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, series 2, 3(2):308-316.
    Rudman, W. B. 1987. The genus Trapania (Nudibranchia, Goniodorididae) in the Indo-West Pacific. J. Molluscan Stud. 53(2):189-212.
    Rudman W.B. et al. 1998. Trapania tartanella accessed through: Sea Slug Forum on 2014-12-14. (
    Schmekel, L. 1968. Ascoglossa, Notaspidea und Nudibranchia im Litoral des Golfes von Neapel. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 75(6):103- 155; figs. 1-21.
    Silva, J. P. 2008. Trapania tartanella accessed through: Hypselodoris, Lesmas do Mar on 2014-12-21. (
    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 D. Moreno. 1988. Nuevas aportaciones al conocimiento de los opistobranquios del sureste español. Iberus 8 (1): 15-23.
    Trainito, E., and M. Doneddu. 2014. Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo, 2a. ed. Il Castello.
    Urgorri, V., and C. Besteiro. 1983. Inventario de los moluscos Opistobranquios de Galicia. Investigación Pesquera 47 (1): 3-28.
    Urgorri, V., G. Diaz-Agras, C. Besteiro, and G. Montoto. 2011. Additions to the inventory of Mollusca Opisthobranchia of Galicia (NW Iberian Peninsula). Thalassas. 27: 77–100.
    WoRMS Editorial Board. 2020. 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:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2020) "Trapania tartanella" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 17/05/2012, Accessed: 25/10/2020 at (

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