Doriopsilla pelseneeri

Doriopsilla pelseneeri (d’Oliveira, 1895)

Doriopsilla pelseneeri (Atlantic) by Carlos Fernández-Cid

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 pelseneeri (d’Oliveira, 1895)


  • Dendrodoris minima Pruvot-Fol, 1951 
  • Dendrodoris racemosa Pruvot-Fol, 1951

This species can reach up to 50 mm in length. The most characteristic morphology of this species are the well spaced tubercles that cover the entire back, which are hemispherical or slightly pointed, with the ones at the center of the back slightly larger than those at the margins. The coloration of the animal is highly variable and can change of color with age, some specimens are nearly white, others are yellow, pink or deep red orange, which generally are larger. The lighter colored ones often reveal creamy colored internal viscera, by transparency. The rhinophores are small and coloured as the rest of the body, but they are somewhat translucent at the base, where they have no lamellae. Gills consists of 5 tripinnate gill leaves that also share the colour of the body; branchial sheath is slightly elevated and all specimens, including the whitish, shown a thin opaque white circle on top of it. The foot is of the same colour of the body and under the mantle there can be observed thin spicules arranged as large cells.

Very little is known about the biology of this species. On the Atlantic coast it has been found associated with red sponge Phorbas fictitius keeping homocromy with reddish specimens, but it has not been proven that D. pelseneeri feeds on it; if so the nudibranch could extract the pigment from the sponge body. Like all dendrodoridids this species has no radula in the oral cavity, so it feeds by sucking the food substrate via buccal bulb. Because of the tubercles on the back it could be “roughly” confused with Doris verrucosa, but in this gray-brown species, the tubercles are higher and also the rhinophoric and branchial sheaths have thick tubercles as well.


  • 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”.
  • Pelseneeri. In honor to Dr. Jean Paul Louis Pelseneer, (1863-1945), Belgian chemistry teacher and keen amateur malacologist from Brussels, Belgium. He has several dedicated animal species.

This species is only known from the Iberian Peninsula, mainly on the Atlantic coast. It has also been cited in the Andalusian coast and in the French Basque country. In Catalonia it has only been cited in commercial trawl fisheries off Blanes.

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

References for the species: Doriopsilla pelseneeri

    Cantabria: Ballesteros and Ortea (1980). Galicia: Ortea and Urgorri (1979c, as Dendrodoris racemosa), Ballesteros and Ortea (1980), Urgorri and Besteiro (1983, 1984). Portugal: De Oliveira (1895), Hidalgo 1916), Nobre (1932), García-Gómez et al. (1991), Valdés and Ortea (1997), Calado et al. (1999, 2003). Andalucía (Atl.): Templado et al. (1993b). Gibraltar: García-Gómez et al. (1989). Andalucía (Med.): Templado et al. (1993b), Valdés and Ortea (1997), Schick (1998). Catalunya: Pruvot-Fol (1954, citada como Dendrodoris minima), Cervera et al. (1988), Domènech et al. (2006).

    General: Eliot, 1906d:148; Fez Sanchez, 1974:124; Nobre, 1896:102; 1931:39; 1936:27; 1938-40:47; Nordsieck, 1972:64; Pruvot-Fol, 1954b:338

    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 pelseneeri based on our own records.

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Further reading

Cite this article as:

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

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