Doriopsilla areolata

Doriopsilla areolata (Bergh, 1880)

Doriopsilla areolata (Portugal) by João Pedro Silva

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: Phyllidioidea  Rafinesque, 1814
Family: Dendrodorididae  O’Donoghue, 1924
Genus: Doriopsilla  Bergh, 1880
Species: Doriopsilla areolata  Bergh, 1880


  • Doriopsilla areolata areolata Bergh, 1880
  • Doriopsilla ciminoi Avila, Ballesteros & Ortea, 1992
  • Doriopsilla evanae Ballesteros & Ortea, 1980
  • Doriopsilla fedalae Pruvot-Fol, 1953
  • Doriopsilla pusilla Pruvot-Fol, 1951
  • Doriopsilla rarispinosa Pruvot-Fol, 1951
  • Doris reticulata Schultz in Philippi, 1836 

The animals of this species can reach 40 mm in length. The general coloration, although it can vary among specimens, is a golden-yellow background or brown in the center of the back and golden-yellow in the margin of the mantle. The back is decorated by numerous white lines that crisscross irregularly that surround small mantle hemispherical tubercles. In young specimens the white lines may not be visible yet and instead there are several opaque white circular spots surrounding the tubers, two or more of these spots could join to form a bigger single one. The ventral mantle is very spiculous, with spicules forming irregular chambers. The rinophores are yellow, of a slightly paler shade than the color of the body, and the laminar base is semi-transparent. The gill consists of 4-6 tripinnate leaves colored pale yellow. The foot is narrow and spiculous, with spicules arranged transversely. The mouth lacks the labial palps as with all Dendrodorididae.

D.areolata is often found under stones, with sponges and brotrillids, from the tidal zone to circalitoral zone, where it’s usually found among commercial fish bycatch. The spawn is yellow and is composed of a 4 mm height ribbon, spirally wound 2-3 times. Eggs are yellow and with a size of 100 microns enclosed in a 130 microns ovigerous capsule.


  • Doriopsilla, genus described by Rudolf Bergh in 1880 in his paper “Die Doriopsen des Mittelmeeres”. Doriopsilla derives from Doris, a sea nymph in the Greek mythology + “-opsis”, “similar to” o “shaped like” + “-illa”, a diminutive. The final meaning would be “shaped like a small Doris”.
  • Areolata is derived from Latin and means “net-like”, referring to the white line pattern of the dorsum.

This species has been cited by the names of D. evanae, D.ciminoi and D. pusilla, which are currently considered synonyms of D.areolata. It is found in all European shores, both Atlantic and Mediterranean, as well as in all areas of the Iberian Peninsula, Balearic islands and Canary islands. It has also been cited in Cape Verde and Senegal.

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

References for the species: Doriopsilla areolata

    Cantabria: Hidalgo (1916), Ballesteros and Ortea (1980), Ávila Escartín (1993), Valdés and Ortea (1997). Galicia: Ballesteros and Ortea (1980), Urgorri and Besteiro (1983), Valdés and Ortea (1997). Portugal: De Oliveira (1895), Hidalgo (1916), Nobre (1932), García-Gómez et al. (1991), Valdés and Ortea (1997), Calado et al. (1999, 2003), Muzavor and Morenito (1999), Malaquias and Morenito (2000), Wirtz and Debelius (2003). Andalucía (Atl.): Cervera and García-Gómez (1986), Templado et al. (1993b). Gibraltar: García-Gómez (1982), García, García-Gómez and Cervera (1986a), García-Gómez et al. (1989), Valdés and Ortea (1997). Andalucía (Med.): Luque (1983, 1986), Hergueta (1985), Salas and Hergueta (1986), Templado et al. (1986, 1993b), Valdes and Ortea (1997), Schick (1998), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a), Ocaña et al. (2000), Peñas et al. (in press). Levante: Templado, Talavera and Murillo (1987). Catalunya: Ros (1975, 1978, citada como D. pusilla), Ballesteros (1980, 1985, citada como D. evanae), Ballesteros & Ortea (1980, citada como D. evanae), Ávila (1993), Valdés & Ortea (1997), Domènech et al. (2006). Baleares: Ballesteros and Ortea (1980, as D. evanae), Ballesteros (1981a, 1985, both as D. evanae), Templado (1982a, as D. evanae), Valdés and Ortea (1997), Villena et al. (1997). Canarias: Valdés and Ortea (1997), Ortea et al. (2001), Moro et al. (2003), Wirtz and Debelius (2003).

    General: Eliot, 1906d:148; Fez Sanchez, 1974:124; Luque, 1983:68; Marcus & Marcus, 1962:472; 1966:181; Nobre, 1931:38; 1936:27; 1938-40:40; Nordsieck, 1972:64; Perrone, 1986a:30; Pruvot-Fol, 1951:39; 1953a:411; 1953b:90[P]; 1954b:336; Valdes & Ortea, 1994a:107; Vayssiere, 1901a:50; 1902a:235; 1913a:362; 1919:83; White, 1955:184

    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 Doriopsilla areolata based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes et al. (2012-2017) "Doriopsilla areolata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 16/05/2012, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (

In order to copy this cite or text fragments you must be a registered user.