Limacia iberica

Limacia iberica  Caballer, Almón & Pérez-Dieste, 2016

Limacia iberica @ Ria de Arousa (A Coruña, Galicia, Spain) by Jacinto Pérez Dieste

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: Polyceroidea  Alder & Hancock, 1845
Family: Polyceridae  Alder & Hancock, 1845
Subfamily: Polycerinae  Alder & Hancock, 1845
Genus: Limacia  O.F. Müller, 1781
Species: Limacia iberica  Caballer, Almón & Pérez-Dieste, 2016

White body with red-orange patches on the back and on the sides of the foot, with the body tissue filled with long spicules (up to 650 microns) which, upon reaching the surface through the skin, give it a rigid look. It has a short and sturdy tail. The dorsum is smooth but for the presence of eight small tubercles with orange tips, located in the midline, between the rhinophores and the gill, and 24 long and robust club-shaped papillae, with the yellow tip and a small spherical white body on top, arranged along the edge of each body side. The rhinophores are long, with orange tips and between 17 and 19 sensory lamellae, rising from low, smooth edged rhinophoral sheaths. The gill has 3 bipinnate white leaves with yellow tips.

Limacia iberica is morphologically very similar to Limacia clavigera, with which it has been probably confused due to the poor description by Müller (who in 1776 described it with 6 words, literally, although the author later expanded the description with further information and illustrations in 1788 and 1806). These species differ in the shape and size of the mantle spicules, Limacia iberica with long and abundant spicules that “break” the skin and are visible to the naked eye. This species is larger than Limacia clavigera, which also has far fewer lateral papillae, which are also much shorter. Limacia clavigera‘s tail is longer and slender and has yellow spots, the rhinophores are shorter and have fewer lamellae, but has more tubercles in the back, which is far less spiculated.

The studied specimens were found in a rock wall 32 m deep, in an area without algae. Limacia iberica apparently lives in deep, cool waters, in rocky areas with almost no algae but with bryozoans like Schizoporella, that could be its food source (Caballer et al., 2015).


  • Limacia. From Latin word “limax”, slug, viscous.
  • Iberica. From Latin “Iber”, Iberia inhabitant. From the Iberian peninsula.

The only specimens identified so far as Limacia iberica have been found in Galicia, Spain (platform “O Sobreiro”, 42º30.7970’N-8º58.6880’W, 5/09/2010).

Known georeferenced records of the species: Limacia iberica
: 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 Limacia iberica based on our own records.

More pictures

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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas et al. (2012-2017) "Limacia iberica" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 14/01/2016, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (

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