Doriopsilla pelseneeri

Doriopsilla pelseneeri (d’Oliveira, 1895)

Doriopsilla pelseneeri (Atlantic) by Carlos Fernández-Cid













































Doriopsilla pelseneeri  d'Oliveira, 1895

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139521).

  • Dendrodoris minima Pruvot-Fol, 1951 
  • Dendrodoris racemosa Pruvot-Fol, 1951

This species can reach up to 50 mm in length. The most characteristic morphology of this species are the well spaced tubercles that cover the entire back, which are hemispherical or slightly pointed, with the ones at the center of the back slightly larger than those at the margins. The coloration of the animal is highly variable and can change of color with age, some specimens are nearly white, others are yellow, pink or deep red orange, which generally are larger. The lighter colored ones often reveal creamy colored internal viscera, by transparency. The rhinophores are small and coloured as the rest of the body, but they are somewhat translucent at the base, where they have no lamellae. Gills consists of 5 tripinnate gill leaves that also share the colour of the body; branchial sheath is slightly elevated and all specimens, including the whitish, shown a thin opaque white circle on top of it. The foot is of the same colour of the body and under the mantle there can be observed thin spicules arranged as large cells.

Very little is known about the biology of this species. On the Atlantic coast it has been found associated with red sponge Phorbas fictitius keeping homocromy with reddish specimens, but it has not been proven that D. pelseneeri feeds on it; if so the nudibranch could extract the pigment from the sponge body. Like all dendrodoridids this species has no radula in the oral cavity, so it feeds by sucking the food substrate via buccal bulb. Because of the tubercles on the back it could be “roughly” confused with Doris verrucosa, but in this gray-brown species, the tubercles are higher and also the rhinophoric and branchial sheaths have thick tubercles as well.


  • Doriopsilla, genus described by Rudolf Bergh in 1880 in his paper “Die Doriopsen des Mittelmeeres”. Doriopsilla derives from Doris, a sea nymph in the Greek mythology + “-opsis”, “similar to” o “shaped like” + “-illa”, a diminutive. The final meaning would be “shaped like a small Doris”.
  • Pelseneeri. In honor to Dr. Jean Paul Louis Pelseneer, (1863-1945), Belgian chemistry teacher and keen amateur malacologist from Brussels, Belgium. He has several dedicated animal species.

This species is only known from the Iberian Peninsula, mainly on the Atlantic coast. It has also been cited in the Andalusian coast and in the French Basque country. In Catalonia it has only been cited in commercial trawl fisheries off Blanes.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Doriopsilla pelseneeri
: 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 Doriopsilla pelseneeri based on our own records.

More pictures


    Abbott, R. T. 1974. American seashells. The marine mollusca of the Atlantic and Pacific coast of North America. Van Nostrand, New York. 663 pp., 24 pls. [October 1974].
    Avila, C., M. Ballesteros, and J. Ortea. 1992. Una nueva especie de Doriopsilla Bergh, 1880 (Mollusca: Nudibranchia) del archipiélago de Cabo Verde. Historia Animalium (Barcelona) 1: 23-31.
    Ballesteros, M. 2007. Lista actualizada de los opistobranquios (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira. 2: 163–188.
    Ballesteros, M. 1980. Contribución al conocimientos de los Sacoglosos y Nudibranquios (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia). Estudio anatómico, sistemático y faunístico de las especies del mediterráneo español. Tesis Doctoral.
    Ballesteros, M., and J. Ortea. 1980. Contribución al conocimiento de los Dendrodorididae (Moluscos: Opisthobranquios: Doridaceos) del litoral iberico. Publicaciones del Departamento de Zoología, Universidad de Barcelona, Facultad de Biología. 5: 25–37.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2016. Actualización del catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira. 6: 1–28.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2023. OPK - Opistobranquis. (
    Ballesteros, M., M. Pontes, and E. Madrenas. 2019. Els nudibranquis del mar català. Brau Edicions, Figueres.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1905. Die Opisthobranchiata der Siboga-Expedition. Monographie 50, pp. 1-248, pls. 1-20.
    Bielecki, S., G. Cavignaux, J. M. Crouzet, and S. Grall. 2011. Des limaces de rêve.
    Calado, G., and V. Urgorri. 1998. Additions and new data on Portuguese Opisthobranchs. Bollettino Malacologico 35 (5- 8): 97-102.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    d’Oliveira, M. P. 1895. Opisthobranches du Portugal de la collection de m Paulino d’Oliveira. O Instituto. Revista Scientifica e Litteraria. 42: 574–592.
    De Fez, S. 1974. Ascoglosos y Nudibranquios de España y Portugal. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Valencia, Spain.
    Domènech, A., C. Ávila, and M. Ballesteros. 2006. Opisthobranch molluscs from the subtidal trawling grounds off Blanes (Girona, north-east Spain). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of U.K. 86: 383–389.
    Edmunds, M. 2007. Opisthobranchiate mollusca from Ghana: Dendrodorididae and Corambidae. Journal  of Conchology 39(3):253-264.
    Eliot, C. N. E. 1906. Report upon a collection of Nudibranchiata from the Cape Verde islands, with notes by C. Crossland. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London l7(3): 131-159.
    Furfaro, G., C. Schreier, E. Trainito, M. Pontes, E. Madrenas, P. Girard, and P. Mariottini. 2022. The Sea Slug Doriopsilla areolata Bergh, 1880 (Mollusca, Gastropoda) in the Mediterranean Sea: Another Case of Cryptic Diversity. Diversity. 14: 1–17.
    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, and C. M. López de la Cuadra. 1989. Resultados de la Campaña Internacional de Biología Marina “Ceuta-86”: Moluscos Opistobranquios. Bollettino Malacologico. 25: 223–232.
    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.
    Long, S. J. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    Marcus, Er. 1961. Opisthobranchia from North Carolina. Journal Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 77 (2): 141-151.
    Marcus, E., and E. Marcus. 1966. The R/V Pillsbury deep-sea biological expedition to the Gulf of Guinea, 1964–65. 9. Opisthobranchs from tropical West Africa. Studies in Tropical Oceanography, 4: 152–208.
    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. Doriopsilla pelseneeri 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.
    Nobre, A. 1896. Mollusques et brachiopodes du Portugal. Annaes de Sciencias Naturaes 3:97-108.
    Nobre, A. 1931. Moluscos marinhos de Portugal. Instituto de Zoologia da Universidade do Porto.
    Nobre, A. 1936. Moluscos marinhos de Portugal. Companhia Editora do Minho, Barcelos.
    Nobre, A. 1938. Fauna malacológica de Portugal I - Moluscos marinhos e das águas salobras. Companhia Editora do Minho. Porto, Portugal: 806 pp.
    Nordsieck, F. 1972. Die europäischen Meeresschnecken : (Opisthobranchia mit Pyramidellidae, Rissoacea) : vom Eismeer bis Kapverdem, Mittelmeer und Schawarzes Meer. Gustav Fischer, Stuttgart.
    Ortea, J. A., and V. Urgorri. 1979c. Sobre la presencia de Dendrodoris racemosa Pruvot-Fol, 1951 y Discodoris rosi Ortea, 1977 (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia) en Galicia. Trabajos Compostelanos de Biología 8: 71-78.
    Pruvot-Fol, A. 1954. Mollusques opisthobranches, Faune de France. Paul Lechevalier, Paris, France.
    Ros, J. D. 1976. Catálogo provisional de los opistobranquios (Gastropoda: Euthyneura) de las costas ibéricas. Miscelánea Zoologica, 3(5):21-51.
    Rudman W.B. et al. 2010. Doriopsilla pelseneeri accessed through: Sea Slug Forum on 2014-12-14. (
    Silva, J. P. 2008. Doriopsilla pelseneeri accessed through: Hypselodoris, Lesmas do Mar on 2014-12-21. (
    Soares, C., and G. Calado. 2006. Spawn and early development of two sympatric species of  the genus Doriopsilla (Opisthobranchia: Nudibranchia) with contrasting development strategies. Records of the Western Australian Museum. Supplement No. 69: 103–109.
    Soares, C., and F. Martins. 2004. Reprodução de dois nudibrânquios do género Doriopsilla Bergh,  1880 (Gastropoda, Opistobranchia) com diferentes estratégias de desenvolvimento. Portugala  (Noticiário Malacológico Instituto Português de Malacologia) (3):6.
    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. Guerra, J. Bedoya, D. Moreno, J. M. Remón, M. Maldonado, and M. A. Ramos. 1993. Fauna marina circalitoral del sur de la Península Ibérica; Resultados de la campaña oceanográfica “Fauna I”. Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), Madrid, Spain.
    Trainito, E., and M. Doneddu. 2014. Nudibranchi del Mediterraneo, 2nd. ed. Il Castello.
    Urgorri, V. 1981. Opistobranquios de Galicia: Estudio faunístico y zoogeográfico. Tesis doctoral. Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
    Urgorri, V., and C. Besteiro. 1983. Inventario de los moluscos Opistobranquios de Galicia. Investigación Pesquera 47 (1): 3-28.
    Urgorri, V., and C. Besteiro. 1984. La alimentación de los Moluscos Nudibranquios de Galicia. Iberus 4: 51-58.

    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) "Doriopsilla pelseneeri" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 28/08/2012. Accessed: 28/02/2024. Available at (

To copy this cite click on the right button.