Tyrannodoris europaea

Tyrannodoris europaea  (García-Gómez, 1985)

Tyrannodoris europaea @ Isla de Tarifa (Cadiz, Spain, Atl. shore) 10-10-2015 by Manuel Martínez Chacón
















































Tyrannodoris europaea  (García-Gómez, 1985)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 1036127).
Taxonomic note: This species was originally posted as Roboastra europaea García-Gómez, 1985. Willan & Chang (2017) moved all species of the genus Roboastra Bergh, 1877  but the type species Roboastra gracilis (Bergh, 1877) into the new genus Tyrannodoris Willan & Chang, 2017.


  • Roboastra europaea

The body is long, limaciform and slightly corrugated, coloured mainly grey or greyish-blue, with yellow and orange lines. Younger animals show a darker colouration. The back shows elongated stripes of light grey bordered by orange, almost symmetrical on the two sides, and rounded at their ends. The orange borders separate the light grey and the yellow areas that conform the rest of the pigmented surface. The border of the mantle is not sharply angled. The sides of the animal are coloured following the same chromatic pattern than the dorsum, but the colours are less distinct and merge into one another. The foot is coloured light grey, almost white, linear and with a pointed tail. The cephalic velum is rounded, inconspicuous, and has no lobes. The perfoliated grey or reddish-grey rhinophores can be retracted into their sheaths, and have 35 tightly packed lamellae, coloured with a deeper shade than the rest of the body. The base and tips of the rhinophores are light grey, as are the outer borders of their sheaths. There are 5 non-retractile yellow bipinnate gills, grey at their tips with an orange rachis. The 3 central gills are bigger than the 2 lateral ones. The internal face of the gills has greyish ramifications which are always orientated towards the rear. The short oral grey coloured tentacles are stout with dorso-lateral grooves along part of their length. The propodial tentacles are small and blunt. The slightly red or orange-red anal papilla has 5 internal lobes and lies beyond the gills, that surround it forming a half circle. The renal pore lies in front of and at the right side of the anal papilla, very close to it. The genital pore is conspicuous and lies at the right side, closer to the rhinophores than to the gills.

The spawn is formed of a long and narrow ribbon, fastened to the substratum (red sea-weeds) by the lower edge. The upper edge is slightly undulated, and the whole mass is laid in a loosely wound spiral of 4 whorls. It is 6-7 mm high and a transverse section of the ribbon shows 3-5 vertical capsule rows. Most of the capsules usually contain a single egg and are rounded with a size of about 100 microns in diameter, while some capsules enclose 2 eggs are ovoid and their long axis is about 150 microns. Members of this genus are rapacious carnivorous, attacking and devouring soft-bodied polycerids: Polycera spp., Polycerella Spp., Limacia spp., Tambja spp., and other ‘phanerobranchs’ (see Megina & Cervera 2003). This species is voracious and shows a curious cannibalistic behaviour: If it finds a smaller specimen of the same species, it is immediately attacks and devours its prey, but if the other specimen is bigger enough, the encounter may end in mating.


  • Tyrannodoris. Genèric name derives from the combination of the Latin word “tyrannus” (terrible) and “doris”.
  • Europaea. From Europe.

This species is known mainly from the Strait of Gibraltar and southern Iberian Peninsula. Presence confirmed in Madeira by the collection of one specimen at Funchal harbour. Also recorded in southwestern Portugal (Calado et al., 2003) and in Catalonian coasts (NE Spain) (Schick, pers. comm.). Poddubetskaia & Petit de Voice (Sea Slug Forum, 2003) report it at Dakar (Senegal), the southernmost record of this species in the Atlantic.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Tyrannodoris europaea
: 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 Tyrannodoris europaea based on our own records.



More pictures


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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas (2023) "Tyrannodoris europaea" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 04/10/2013. Accessed: 14/04/2024. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/?p=10677)

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