Aegires leuckartii

Aegires leuckartii (Vérany, 1853)

Aegires leuckartii by Enric Madrenas

Class: Gastropoda Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura Spengel, 1881
Clade: Nudipleura Wägele & Willan, 2000
Order: Nudibranchia Cuvier, 1817
Suborder: Euctenidiacea Tardy, 1970
Infraorder: Doridacea Thiele, 1931
Superfamily: Polyceroidea Alder & Hancock, 1845
Family: Aegiretidae P. Fischer, 1883
Genus: Aegires Lovén, 1844
Species: Aegires leuckartii Vérany, 1853

Taxonomic note: Several authors (Haefelfinger, 1968; Ortea, Luque & Templado, 1990) have postulated the synonymy between A. leuckartii and A. punctilucens while Risbec (1928, 1953) has tried to synonymize it with A. albopunctatus (actually identified as A. pruvotfolae). There is an extensive discussion of these issues in the paper (Fahey & Gosliner, 2004 p.630-632). We consider A. leuckartii is a valid species.


  • Aegires leuckarti [sic]

Vérany chose the name “leuckartii” for this new species. Later authors as Vayssière (1901) and others removed the last ‘i’, however the ICZN article 58 considers synonyms the specific names of species dedicated to people with the suffix ‘-i’ or ‘-ii’, so the use of “leuckartii” according to its original description is considered correct.

This small nudibranch can reach up to 5 mm in length, with the body rigid and limaciform, wider at the front side and at the level of the gills, finished in a pointed tail. The head has a relatively large frontal veil with rounded side lobes and flattened oral tentacles. It has numerous large and globular shaped tubercles, symmetrically distributed throughout the body, with small spicules protruding at the apex. The body color is translucent white and the internal organs can be seen by transparency in juveniles. The adults have an opaque white superficial pigmentation with brown spots on the apexes of tubercles, rhinophores and around the gill tubercles. The foot is white. The rhinophores are smooth and each can be retracted within a rhinophoric sheath, protected with a large tubercle on each outer edge. It has 3 bipinnate gills, each protected by a specific tubercle.

According to Schmekel and Portmann (1982) feeding is based on calcareous sponges of the Leucosoleniidae family, although other unconfirmed studies indicate algae of the genus Codium. The spawn can be found between September and October. It is usually found in rocky bottoms down to 30 meters deep.


  • Aegires, related to the Norse and Celtic god of the seashore and ocean, Aegir. Although he was feared for causing storms when angry, he was also reknowned for his hospitality as the brewer of beer for the gods, the sea foam being considered homologous with the froth on a glass of beer.
  • Leuckartii devoted to Friederich Sigismund Leuckart, (1794-1843; Germany), together with Eduard Rüppell, co-author of the “Atlas zu der Reise im nördlichen Afrika. Erste Abtheilung Zoologie” (1830)

It is supposed to be endemic to the Mediterranean Sea, where it is considered a rare species. It has been cited in all the Iberian Mediterranean coasts, including the Balearic Islands.

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

References for the species: Aegires leuckartii

    Gibraltar: García-Gómez et al. (1989). Andalucía (Med.): Ballesteros et al. (1986, as A. punctilucens), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a), Ocaña et al. (2000). Levante: Templado (1982b, 1983, 1984, all as A. punctilucens), Marín and Ros (1987, as A. punctilucens), Templado, Luque and Ortea (1987, as A. punctilucens leuckarti), Templado, Talavera and Murillo (1987, as A. punctilucens leuckarti). Catalunya: Ballesteros (Tossa de Mar, unpubl. data). Baleares: Ballesteros, Álvarez and Mateo (1986, as A. punctilucens leuckarti).

    General: Bergh, 1881a:655; 1883:135; Fez Sanchez, 1974:131; Haefelfinger, 1968:576; Ihering, 1886:24; Risbec, 1928:125; 1953:60; Sabelli, Giannuzzi-Savelli, & Bedulli, 1990:437; Vayssiere, 1901a:55; 1913a:337

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


    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:
This chart displays the observation probability for Aegires leuckartii based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas et al. (2012-2017) "Aegires leuckartii" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 15/05/2012, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (

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