Trapania maculata

Trapania maculata (Haefelfinger, 1960)

Trapania maculata 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: Goniodorididae  H. Adams & A. Adams, 1854
Genus: Trapania  Pruvot-Fol, 1931
Species: Trapania maculata  Haefelfinger, 1960

This species can reach 15-20 mm in length. The body is whitish, almost transparent in the areas with no viscera, but it is clearly identified by the yellow or orange spots spots on the dorsal part of the head, oral and buccal palps, rhinophores, dorsum, body side walls, gill leaves and tail. The shape and arrangement of these spots varies among specimens. There are two pairs of tentaculiform pallial bumps of the same colour raising from the base of each rhinophore and the base of the gills. The rhinophores are whitish or semitransparent in the base, but the lamellae and apex are yellow. Three gill tripinnate leaves surround the anal papilla. The gill leaves have the central shaft and the lamellae coloured yellow while the rest is semi-transparent white. The tail has a fairly constant elongated yellow stain on its dorsal area.

This species of nudibranch can be found in dark rock walls, wandering or on different species of sponges. It seems that it feed on the endoprocta living on sponges rather than feeding on sponges. Spawn of Trapania maculata is formed by a transparent gelatinous ribbon 3-4 mm high, irregularly coiled, with irregularly placed white eggs: on top of the ribbon there are 10 to 15 eggs in two layers but only 4-5 eggs at the end of the ribbon, where it is narrower.


  • Trapania. Bernard Picton considers this derives from Greek Drepane meaning “sickle” or “reaping hook”, presumably referred to the appendixes located in the base of rhinophores and gills in the genus Trapania.
  • Maculata, from Latin maculatus, meaning “stained”.

This is a species that has been cited throughout the European coasts, both Atlantic and Mediterranean, and all around the Iberian Peninsula coasts. In Catalonia it is a common species throughout the rocky coastline.

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

References for the species: Trapania maculata

    Cantabria: Ortea (1977c), Cervera and García-Gómez (1989c), Ávila Escartín (1993). Galicia: Ortea (1977c), Urgorri and Besteiro (1983, 1984). Andalucía (Atl.): Cervera and García-Gómez (1989c). Gibraltar: Cervera and García-Gómez (1989c), García-Gómez et al. (1989). Andalucía (Med.): Cervera and García-Gómez (1989c), Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a), Ocaña et al. (2000). Levante: Ballesteros et al. (1986), Templado, Talavera and Murillo (1987), Templado et al. (2002), Cervera and García-Gómez (1989c). Catalunya: Ros (1975, 1978b), Ballesteros (1980, 1985), Altimira et al. (1981), Pereira & Ballesteros (1982), Huelin & Ros (1984), Cervera & García-Gómez (1989a), Ávila (1993), M@re Nostrum [Cala Rovellada (Colera) 3/2001]. Baleares: Templado (1982a), Ávila Escartín (1993).

    General: Brown & Picton, 1976:63; 1979:10; Cattaneo-Vietti, Chemello, & Giannuzzi-Savelli, 1990:45[P]; Picton & Morrow, 1994:58[P]; Thompson, 1988:168[P]; Thompson & Brown, 1976:88; 1984:48[P]

    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 Trapania maculata based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Trapania maculata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 15/05/2012, Accessed: 23/01/2018 at (

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