Felimida elegantula

Felimida elegantula (Philippi, 1844)

Felimida elegantula @ Olbia locality Cuncheddi, Sardinia, 06 July 2013, rocky bottom, -2 m by Mauro Doneddu

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: Doridoidea  Rafinesque, 1815
Family: Chromodorididae  Bergh, 1891
Genus: Felimida  Ev. Marcus 1971
Species: Felimida elegantula (Philippi, 1844) [Doris]

Taxonomic note: The European Atlantic and Mediterranean species of the genus Chromodoris and Hypselodoris have been reconsidered. After molecular analysis of the Chromodorididae performed by Johnson & Gosliner (2012, Traditional taxonomic groupings mask evolutionary history: A molecular phylogeny and new classification of the chromodorid nudibranchs. PLoS ONE 7(4): 33479) the Hypselodoris species have been included in the genus Felimare Ev. Marcus & Er. Marcus, 1967 and the Chromodoris species have been included in the genus Felimida Ev. Marcus, 1971.

Felimida elegantula was described by Philippi (1844) based on a single specimen collected in Sicily (Italy) described with a rectangular opaque white body with small dark dorsal spots, a yellow band around the mantle, 11 gill leaves and white rhinophores. The color pattern of the specimens studied in the paper by Ortigosa et. al (2014) resembles Philippi’s description, similar to Perrone’s (1993) Felimida elegantula polychroma, in relation to the size of the dorsal spots. According to Perrone, the external differences between the two known subspecies, F. elegantula elegantula and F. elegantula polychroma, consist of the larger spots and the presence of faded white stains in the second. Cervera (2005) comments about a specimen without red spots (but with the faded white stains on the dorsum) that could belong to a third subspecies, or it could be a color variation of F. elegantula. Ortigosa et al. (2014) found no specimens corresponding to the Perrone’s description of F. elegantula elegantula for molecular analysis, so they were unable to determine whether the subspecies mentioned by Perrone correspond to intraspecific variations or are different species. The validity of F. elegantula as a distinct species is justified by the monophyly of the ‘large spot’ specimens studied by Ortigosa et al. (2014) and the species delimitation analysis. A later work by Furfaro et al. (2016) based on a specimen found in Tunisia which has been DNA analyzed, demonstrates that belongs to this species; although it does not contradict Perrone’s (1993) subspecies, it demonstrates the high chromatic variability of F. elegantula.


  • Chromodoris elegantula (Philippi, 1844)
  • Chromodoris elegantula polychroma Perrone, 1993
  • Doris elegantula Philippi, 1844 (Original)

Elongated and oval whitish body, with several red dots irregularly covering the dorsum, the sides of the foot and the tail. It has faded opaque white stains on the back. The mantle is surrounded by a yellow band, with a thin white band on the inside. The back of the foot is not covered by the mantle. It has Mantle Dermal Formations (or MDFs) around the edge of the mantle, but not in the head zone. It has two rhinophores with up to 13 lamellae. The gill has 6 unipinnate whitish gill leaves, each one with an opaque white rachis. Both the gills and the rhinophores are fully retractile.

This species is found in shallow waters, among algae (especially Cystoseira sp.). It is believed that feeds on hydrarians, small sponges and bryozoans growing near the base of the algae. It has also been found among Posidonia oceanica by laying a mass of yellow eggs. According Rudman (2005) a photo of a spawn in the paper by Sordi (1970) shows that it has few eggs and that they are large, suggesting that the larvae may have direct development (without veliger phase).


  • Elegantula. From Latin “elegantulus”, very graceful, elegant.

Felimida elegantula has been scarcely found after its original description (Philippi, 1844). It is known only in the Mediterranean Sea, where it has been described in Spain: Balearic Islands (Vives, 2007); France: Villafranche-sur-Mer (Pruvot-Fol, 1932); Italy: Palermo (Philippi, 1844, type locality), Porto San Paolo (Ortigosa et al, 2014.), Cagliari and Tavolara (Sardinia) (Trainito, 2003; Piras, 2005), Secche della Meloria (Sordi, 1970), Pantelleria island (Picchetti, 2000); Malta: (Cachia, Mifsud & Sammut, 1993, Perrone, 1993; Sammut & Perrone, 1998); Tunis: Kerkennah islands (Furfaro et al. 2016) and Turkey: Adrasan (Türkmen & Demirsoy, 2009).

Known georeferenced records of the species: Felimida elegantula
: 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 Felimida elegantula based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas et al. (2012-2017) "Felimida elegantula" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 11/09/2014, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/vFzGK)

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