Dendrodoris temarana

Dendrodoris temarana @ Delta de l'Ebre by Judith Camps Castellà













































Dendrodoris temarana  Pruvot-Fol, 1953

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 748382).

  • Dendrodoris temarana Pruvot-Fol, 1953: 87–88, text fig. 31, pl. 3, fig. 55.
  • Dendrodoris limbata [non Cuvier (1804)]—Ballesteros (1978, 1984, 1985), García-Gómez (1984), Gómez-Álvarez (2017)
  • Dendrodoris grandiflora [non Rapp (1827)]—Valdés et al. (2016), Cyrne et al. (2018)
  • Dendrodoris herytra [non Valdés & Ortea in Valdés, Ortea, C. Ávila & Ballesteros (1996) in part] – Wirtz (1998), Cyrne et. al. (2018)

Taxonomic note
Galià et al (2022) have recently reinstated the species Dendrodoris temarana described by Pruvot-Fol in 1953, a species considered, until now, a synonymous of D. grandiflora. Pruvot-Fol described the species based on a color illustration by Hélène Gantés, of specimens collected in the town of Temara on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, available in the original species description. It has been synonymized with different species of Dendrodoris since then. Given the fact that species of this genus lack a radula in their digestive apparatus and that some of them have a certain chromatic variability, there has traditionally been some confusion in their identification. New molecular data have helped to clarify these doubts. In their work, Galià et al. (2022) indicate the morphological differences of D. temarana with other species of the genus from the Atlanto-Mediterranean area, and indicate genetic distances of 8-10% with D. grandiflora, 15-17% with D. herytra, 12-15 % with D. krebsii, 16-19% with D. limbata and 13-15% with D. senegalensis. In D. temarana, they found genetic distances of 0-3% between different specimens. The same authors indicate by means of a color plate the variations of coloration of the specimens according to their size.

Live specimens can measure up to 70 mm in length. The body is elongate when the animal is moving and the rear part of the foot protrudes slightly behind the mantle. Mantle is soft, without spicules and very wide compared to the foot. Margin is smooth and wavy, which slightly striated and its color is somewhat lighter than the rest of the body. Juveniles are a uniform pale red color, changing to a variable color pattern as adults: red, pink, yellowish, orange, dark brown or almost black. The background color can be uniform (generally in black or brown specimens) or with orange, reddish or brownish spots. The rhinophores are the same color as the body, with a broad base, a slightly raised, smooth sheath and with 15–20 oblique lamellae on the upper part; the tip of the rhinophores is white. Gill with eight tripinnate gill leaves, the two rearmost ones sharing a common base. There are rare cases of six (juveniles from 5-10 mm long) or 10 (larger specimens) gill leaves. The gill leaves are the same color as the mantle, sometimes darker, with a lighter colored rachis and white tips. The anal papilla is somewhat globose and prominent, with a lobed upper border. Ventrally, the margin of the mantle, the flanks of the body and the foot have the same color as the dorsum, but with no spots.

This species lives under stones, from the intertidal zone down to several meters deep. In Cubelles (Catalonia, NE Spain) the species is very common and has been documented (as D. limbata) for forty years in very shallow waters (0-1 m deep), under rocks. In the aforementioned locality, groups of 3 to 5 specimens can be found gathered under the same stone and in visual censuses carried out in the 1980s, up to 40 specimens per sampling hour could be recorded (M. Ballesteros, personal observation). On the coast of Cádiz, D. temarana is the most abundant nudibranch, co-occurring with D. grandiflora, much less abundant, under rocks exposed at low tide (personal observations of C. Galià, J. L. Cervera and M. Ballesteros). The spawn is laid under stones and consists of an 8 mm wide, ivory-colored ribbon wound in a spiral of several whorls, which can reach 5 cm in total diameter. There are usually 60-70 eggs across the width of the ribbon, arranged in two overlapping layers. The eggs are about 80 μm in diameter, enclosed in capsules about 140 μm in diameter. Egg spawns have been observed from May to November (J. L. Cervera and M. Ballesteros, personal observations).

Dendrodoris temarana is found from around the Western Mediterranean to southern Portugal, Morocco, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. On the Catalan coast (NE of Spain) and Cádiz (Andalusia, SW of Spain) it is very abundant. This species has been reported in El Portil (SW Spain) (García-Gómez, 1984), Cádiz Gulf (Gómez-Álvarez, 2017) and Cubelles (Ballesteros, 1978, 1984, 1985) as D. limbata. Records from Portugal (Cyrne et al., 2018), the Azores Islands (Wirtz, 1995, 1998), and the Canary Islands (Valdés et al., 1996) were misidentified as D. herytra. This species was also misidentified as D. grandiflora in Portugal (Cyrne et al., 2018), the Canary Islands (Valdés et al., 1996), Morocco (Valdés et al., 1996), and Mauritania (Valdés et al., 1996). Photographs or video records corresponding to Dendrodoris temarana from the Thau lagoon (SE of France), the Ebro Delta (NE of Spain), the Balearic Islands (E of Spain) and La Línea de la Concepción (S of Spain) are available on various internet sites.

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

Similar species
Dendrodoris limbata has a narrow orange margin and spots on the ventral part of the body. Dendrodoris grandiflora has a very broad, striated margin, darker than the body colour.


    Western Mediterranean: ★☆☆☆☆
    Eastern Mediterranean: ☆☆☆☆☆
    Atlantic Ocean: ★☆☆☆☆

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Dendrodoris temarana based on our own records.



More pictures


    Ballesteros, M., M. Pontes, and E. Madrenas. 2019. Els nudibranquis del mar català. Brau Edicions, Figueres.
    Galià-Camps, C., J. L. Cervera, Á. Valdés, and M. Ballesteros. 2022. Attack on crypsis: Molecular and morphological study of Dendrodoris Ehrenberg, 1831 (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Nudibranchia) from the Mediterranean Sea and Northern Atlantic Ocean reinstates Dendrodoris temarana Pruvot-Fol, 1953. Zootaxa. 5133: 383–406.
    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.
    Marcus, Er. 1957. On opisthobranchia from Brazil 2. Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Zoology) 43(292): 390-486.
    Pontes, M., X. Salvador, A. Parera, G. Álvarez, and M. Ballesteros. 2021. Biodiversity in anthropized marinas. The case of the Barcelona Forum bathing area (Spain), Monografies de la Societat Catalana d’Història Natural. Institució Catalana d’Història Natural, Barcelona.
    Pruvot-Fol, A. 1953. Etude de quelques Opisthobranches de la côte Atlantique du Maroc et du Senegal. Travaux de l’Institut Scientifique Chérifien 5: 1-105.
    Rufray, X., P. Girard, S. Le Bris, T. Menut, C. Santarelli, and X. Salvador. 2021. Liste commentée des limaces de mer de la lagune de Thau, Hérault. Les cahiers de la fondation Biotope. 36: 1–189.
    Valdés, A., J. Ortea, C. Ávila, and M. Ballesteros. 1996. Review of the genus Dendrodoris (Ehrenberg, 1831) (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia) in the Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Molluscan Studies. 62: 1–31.

    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:

Manuel Ballesteros (2023) "Dendrodoris temarana" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 13/04/2020. Accessed: 27/02/2024. Available at (

To copy this cite click on the right button.