Diaphorodoris papillata

Diaphorodoris papillata Portmann & Sandmeier 1960

Diaphorodoris papillata 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 papillata Portmann & Sandmeier, 1960

The specimens of this species can reach 10 mm in length. There is a very similar species D. luteocincta , also with a white body and a yellow bordered mantle. The difference with this other species is the presence of digitiform, deep red colored, thin and long papillae that could be dichotomized in the apex or near the base. These red papillae can be of different sizes and even have a rudimentary tubercule shape. A binocular microscope can show a whitish thin dotted design on the back, and mantle spiculation, less apparent than in D. luceocincta. Rhinophores are the white and long and have between 12 and 14 white lamellae, while the rhinophoric sheath has 1 to 3 little papillae on its upper edge . The eyes are located at the very base of the rhinophores. The gill consists of 5 semitransparent white leaves with a white pigmented rachis. The foot is white and ends in a tail that has a longitudinal dorsal keel pigmented opaque white. The mouth lacks labial palps and is surrounded by two large round bulbs instead.

This species is less common than D. luteocincta but they often share the same habitat, that is dimly lit rock walls with plenty of algae and sessile invertebrate fauna, specially bryozoans Smittina reticulata (see Ros, 1975 p:317) on which it feeds. It has also been quoted in Posidonia oceanica meadows and below stones. There are reports of Diaphorodoris papillata 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 or light colored Doris.
  • Doris. In Greek mythology, wife of Nereo, nymph of the waters and mother of Nereids.
  • Papillata. From Latin “papillātus”, having papillae or buds, shaped like a papilla or bud.

This recently described species mainly inhabits the western Mediterranean basin but is also found on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It has been cited in the coast of Portugal and the Straits of Gibraltar, along the Mediterranean coast of Andalucia, on the eastern coast of Spain and in Catalonia. In the Catalan coast it is a relatively common species along the Costa Brava. It has also been cited in Italian waters, also in Malta, in the Croatian coast and recently in the eastern Mediterranean, off the coast of Israel. A report of this species at Taliarte, Gran Canària in 3 meters of water (27/08/2016, Jose Juan Calderín Peñate, pers. comm.) probably is the first confirmed cite for this species for the Canary Islands.  Citation by Cervera et al. (2004) in Cantabria (Northern coast of Spain) referencing the PhD Thesis by C. Ávila (1993) is not correct.

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

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Diaphorodoris papillata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 15/05/2012, Accessed: 19/01/2018 at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/5MRFt)

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