Aegires punctilucens

Aegires punctilucens (d’Orbigny, 1837)

Aegires punctilucens by Luis Ángel Díaz Álvarez

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 punctilucens (d’Orbigny, 1837)


  • Aegires hispidus Hesse, 1872
  • Aegirus hispidus Hesse, 1872
  • Doris maura Forbes, 1840
  • Polycera horrida Hesse, 1872
  • Polycera punctilucens d’Orbigny, 1837 (original)

Body usually measures about 10 mm with a maximum recorded length of 20mm, and it is heavily spiculated and rigid, with the dorsal surface densely covered with large spiculose flat tipped tubercles, each one with a dark apical spot. Body base color is generally slightly translucent light brown (paler in juveniles, rarely white) with darker brown spots and dense white speckling. Arranged in a symetrical pattern along the body there are several flat discs colored orange-brown, each one encircled by several black spots and with a characteristic iridescent blue central spot. There are two smooth cylinder shaped rhinophores emerging from a sheath that has 3-5 tubercles around the opening. The rhinophores base color is yellowish with two or three brown transversal bands, overall sprayed with white. There are three partially tripinnate gills with a similar color to tubercles, located on the highest point of the dorsum and protected by a raised gill sheath, because they are not retractile. The oral tentacles are short and rounded, located in the space between the foot and the oral veil. Veil with 8 to 10 lobes, visible from below. The foot is colored translucent cream with a translucent white band around it, sprayed in opaque white around the base of the body. It has no propodial tentacles.

European specimens live from lower shore down to depths of 100m, and feed on the calcareous sponge Leucosolenia botryoides, over which it is perfectly camouflaged -it may be hidden inside the sponge- so it is very difficult to spot. Spawns in June and July, laying a spiral ribbon attached by the edge. Veliger larvae live as plankton before metamorphosing.


  • 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.
  • Punctilucens, Latin for “points of light”.

This species is present in Norway (near the Arctic circle), the NE Atlantic -it is widespread around the British Islands and Ireland- and south to the Mediterranean. This European species is apparently not uncommon in Japan (Sea Slug Forum), detected in China, and there are some records from eastern Australia (GBIF). Presumably this disjunct distribution is the result of human activity.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Aegires punctilucens
: 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 observation probability for Aegires punctilucens based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas et al. (2012-2017) "Aegires punctilucens" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 28/08/2012, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (

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