Diaphorodoris luteocincta

Diaphorodoris luteocincta (Sars, M.,1870)

Diaphorodoris luteocincta @ Mataró, Barcelona, Spain 6-05-2016 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: Onchidoridoidea  J.E. Gray, 1827
Family: Calycidorididae Roginskaya, 1972
Genus: Diaphorodoris  Iredale & O’Donoghue, 1923
Species: Diaphorodoris luteocincta (M. Sars, 1870) [Doris]

Taxonomic note: The systematic rank of the nudibranch Diaphorodoris luteocincta has been debated for many decades. Many authors considered the subspecies D. luteocincta var. alba and D. luteocincta var. reticulata variations of the same species, however the recent morphological and molecular analyses performed by Furfaro et al. (2016) clearly deny this conclusion, demostrating that they are two different species: D. alba and D. luteocincta respectively.


  • Diaphorodoris luteocincta var. reticulata Portmann & Sandmeier, 1960 
  • Doris beaumonti Farran, 1903 
  • Doris luteocincta M. Sars, 1870 (original)
  • Onchidoris luteocincta (M. Sars, 1870) 

The specimens of this species may reach up to 12 mm in length. The body color is almost transparent white, with a slightly broken submarginal yellow band (that gives it the specific name) surrounded by a marginal white band that reaches the mantle edge and differentiates this species from the close species D. alba. There are conic processes uniformly scattered on the dorsum. Most specimens have a red dorsal pigmentation that respects the white dorsal tubercles. The rhinophores are transparent at the base and iridescent white on the upper half, have about 8-10 lamellae and may retract completely; the rhinophoric sheath has 2-3 small conical tubercles on its upper edge. The gill is formed by 5 unnipinnate branchial leaves colored iridescent white, opaque in their margins. The largest branchial leaf is directed forward while the two in the back side are smaller, almost rudimentary. The foot is white and the anterior part forms two thick lips that surround the mouth; it ends in a triangular tail, with the lateral margins and dorsal part colored iridescent white.

This nudibranch is often seen wandering on dimly lit rock walls with plenty of scyaphilic algae, hydroids, sponges and bryozoans. It feeds on bryozoans like Smittoidea reticulata and Cellepora pumicosa. The spawn is a white ribbon with few eggs (about 120) of very small size (about 70 microns). There are reports of Diaphorodoris luteocincta mating with Diaphorodoris alba in the Mediterranean. Being different species we assume this does not result on viable offspring, as we have never observed hybrid specimens either.


  • Diaphorodoris. Diaphanous Doris
  • Doris. In Greek mythology, wife of Nereo, nymph of the waters and mother of Nereids.
  • Luteocincta. “Luteo”, from Latin “lūteus”, saffron yellow + “Cincta”, from Latin “cinctus”, surrounded, encircled, wreathed, crowned, girded, bordered, enclosed.

D. luteocincta lives from the Norwegian coast to the north of Europe to the Mediterranean Sea. In the British coast it is a very common species, while in the Mediterranean it is considered rare. In the Iberian coast it has been cited in Spanish Mediterranean coast. It is also cited in the Balearic islands. In the Catalan coast it has been reported in the rocky shores of the Costa Brava.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Diaphorodoris luteocincta
: 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 Diaphorodoris luteocincta based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Diaphorodoris luteocincta" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 15/05/2012, Accessed: 20/01/2018 at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/QWOlj)

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