Berthella ocellata

Berthella ocellata (delle Chiaje, 1830)

Berthella ocellata by Enric Madrenas

Class: Gastropoda Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura Spengel, 1881
Clade: Nudipleura Wägele & Willan, 2000
Subclade: Pleurobranchomorpha Schmekel, 1985 (formerly NOTASPIDEA)
Superfamily: Pleurobranchoidea J.E. Gray, 1827
Family: Pleurobranchidae J.E. Gray, 1827
Genus: Berthella de Blainville, 1824
Species: Berthella ocellata (delle Chiaje, 1830) [Pleurobranchus]


  • Pleurobranchus monterosati Vayssière, 1880
  • Pleurobranchus ocellatus Delle Chiaje, 1830 (original)

This notaspidean can reach more than 50 mm in length. The main features of this species are the domed mantle, its dark brown color and the lightly colored ocelli fringed with white, which are characteristic and refered in the specific name. The head veil is quite wide and pigmented of a slightly lighter brown than the body. The rhinophores are auriculate, light brown colored and arranged in divergent orientation, towards both sides. The mantle has numerous, different sized, round bumps that match the ocelli. These bumps are fringed with white circles that can connect with those of adjacent ocelli. The gill, located in the right side of the body, between the mantle and the foot, is bipinnate, yellowish and may have up to 25 lamellae on either side of the spine, which can be dotted in light brown. The foot is wide and can emit defensive acid secretions.

This species is usually collected under rocks at shallow depth. Very little is known about feeding, breeding and other details of its biology.


  • Berthella. Probably dedicated to Sabin Berthelot (1794-1880), a French naturalyst who enrolled the Navy and participated in the Napoleonic wars. He lived part of his life at the Canary islands, in his post as French consul in Tenerife. The abbreviation “Berth” is used to indicate Sabin Berthelot as an authority in the scientific botanical description and classification. He wrote the “Historia Natural de Canarias” and directed the Botanical Garden of Puerto de la Cruz.
  • Ocellata. From Latin “ocellatus”, with small eyes, or eye shaped colour stains.

So far this species has been collected only in the Mediterranean Sea. In the Catalan coast it is found sporadically, but there are cites in Es Caials (Cadaqués), Illa Mateua (L’Escala) or Palamos, among others.

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

References for the species: Berthella ocellata

    Andalucía (Atl.): Templado et al. (1993b, as Berthella cf. ocellata). Gibraltar: García-Gómez (1987), Cervera et al. (2000). Andalucía (Med.): Sánchez Tocino, Ocaña and García (2000a), Peñas et al. (in press, as Berthella cf. ocellata). Catalunya: Ros (1975, 1978b, citada como Bouvieria ocellata), Ballesteros (datos no publicados) [Cala Sant Antoni, Costa Brava], M@re Nostrum [Es Caials 10/2002, Illa Mateua 8/1998 y 7/2002]. Baleares: Templado (1982a), Ros and Gili (1985, as Berthella cf. ocellata). Canarias: Ortea et al. (2001), Wirtz and Debelius (2003).

    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 Berthella ocellata based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Berthella ocellata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 15/05/2012, Accessed: 22/01/2018 at (

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