Creseis acicula

Creseis acicula (Rang, 1828)

Creseis acicula @ Croatia by Pero Ugarković







































Creseis acicula  (Rang, 1828)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139034).

  • Cleodora (Creseis) acicula Rang, 1828
  • Cleodora (Creseis) clava Rang, 1828
  • Cleodora acicula Rang, 1828 (original)
  • Cleodora clava Rang, 1828 (original)
  • Creseis clava (Rang, 1828)
  • Creseis acicula acicula (Rang, 1828)
  • Creseis acus Eschscholtz, 1829 
  • Creseis recta Gray J.E., 1850
  • Creseis spiniformis Benoit, 1843
  • Dentalium ecostatum Kirk, 1880
  • Hyalaea aciculata d’Orbigny, 1834 

It can measure up to 4 cm long. The shell is smooth, very long (up to 33 mm) and narrow (up to 1.5 mm in diameter), tube-shaped and not curved, and it is not perfectly straight as there are many small distortions in its shape due to growth irregularities. The animal can fully retract into the shell which, being transparent, allows the internal visceral mass to be seen through. When not retracted in the shell, two swimming wings can be seen at the widest end of the shell, on either side of the mouth.

It is a pelagic species that, due to its morphology is a clumsy swimmer. It lives near the surface in the warmer waters of all oceans, where it feeds on phytoplankton and protozoa. Mass swarming in coastal waters is a normal phenomenon. Swarming is sometimes synchronised with that of Penilia avirostris and blooms of Trichodesmum (Sakthivel and Haridas, 1974). It is a protandric hermaphrodite. Breeding in the subtropics takes place in the summer. In Trieste juveniles are found in July and in the Gulf of Naples in September. Neurosecretion is described for this species.


  • Creseis. From a Greek mythology nymph name.
  • Acicula. From Latin “acus”, needle.

It it considered circumglobal (50°N – 45°S), where it shows a continuous distribution in warm waters. In the Sargasso Sea and the Benguela Current only a small number of samples of this species have been recorded and in the centres no records are known. In contrast to most species, this species even breeds in the North Atlantic. The geological record show records in the Pleistocene and the Pliocene of the Mediterranean, and in the Late Quaternary of the Red Sea.

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

References for the species: Creseis acicula

    Galicia: Cadée (1968). Gibraltar: Hidalgo (1917), Vives, Santamaría and Trepat (1975). Andalucía (Med.): Rampal (1968, 2002), Peñas et al. (in press). Levante: Hidalgo (1917), Vives (1966). Catalunya: Hidalgo (1917), Tarruella (2002). Como C.acicula. Baleares: Rampal (1963). Canarias: Hernández et al. (1991), Hernández and Jiménez (1993), Hernández, Ferrandis and Lozano Soldevilla (1993), Hernández, Jiménez and Silva (1997a,b), Ortea et al. (2001), Moro et al. (2003). Azores: Rampal (2002).

    Sources: Cervera et al., 2004, Ballesteros, 2007 & 2016, McDonald, 2006 and other sources.


    Western Mediterranean:1 out of 5 stars
    Eastern Mediterranean:2 out of 5 stars
    Atlantic Ocean:3 out of 5 stars

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Creseis acicula based on our own records.



More pictures


    Ballesteros, M. 2007. Lista actualizada de los opistobranquios (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira. 2: 163–188.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2021. OPK - Opistobranquis. (
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2016. Actualización del catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira 6(2016): 1-28.
    Burgi, C. M., and C. Devos. 1962. Accumulation exceptionelle de Creseis acicula au long des côtes dans la région de Banyuls-sur-Mer. Vie et Milieu, 13: 391-392.
    Capdevila, M., and J. Folch. 2009. Fauna malacològica del Parc Subaquàtic de Tarragona (el Tarragonès, Catalunya, Espanya). SPIRA Vol. 3 Núms. 1-2 Pàg. 33-51.
    Cervera, J. L., G. Calado, C. Gavaia, M. A. E. Malaquías, J. Templado, M. Ballesteros, J. C. García-Gómez, and C. Megina. 2004. An annotated and updated checklist of the opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from Spain and Portugal (including islands and archipelagos). Boletín Instituto Español de Oceanografía, 20 (1-4): 1-111. L.
    Giribet, G., and A. Peñas. 1997. Fauna malacológica del litoral del Garraf (NE de la Península Ibérica). Iberus 15 (1): 41-93.
    Hidalgo, J. C. 1917. Fauna malacológica de España, Portugal y las Baleares. Trabajos del Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales. Serie Zoología (Madrid) 30: 752 pp.
    Kornicker, L. S. 1959. Observations on the behavior of the pteropods Creseis acicula Rang. Bull. Mar. Sci. Gulf Caribb. 9(3): 331-336, 1 tab., 2 photos.
    Long, S. J. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    McDonald, G. 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia. 2nd Online Edition, Annotated. 1072 pp  Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. (
    Moro, L., J. J. Bacallado, and J. A. Ortea. 2010. Babosas marinas de las islas Canarias. Actas VI Semana Científica Telesforo Bravo, Instituto de Estudios Hispánicos de Canarias.
    Moro, L., J. L. Martín Esquivel, M. J. Garrido Sanahuja, and I. Izquierdo Zamora. 2003. Lista de especies marinas de Canarias (algas, hongos, plantas y animales). Consejería de Política Territorial y Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Canarias.
    Nishimura, S. 1965. Droplets from the plankton net, 20. “Sea stings” caused by Creseis acicula Rang (Mollusca: Pteropoda) in Japan. Publ. Seto Mar. Biol. Lab., 13(4): 298290.
    Oliver, J. D., J. Templado, and D. K. Kersting. 2012. Gasterópodos marinos de las islas Columbretes (Mediterráneo occidental). Iberus, 30 (2).
    Ozturk, B., A. Dogan, B. Bitlis-Bakir, and A. Salman. 2014. Marine Molluscs of the Turkish Coasts: An Updated Checklist. Tübitak, Turkish Journal of Zoology 38.
    Peñas, A., E. Rolán, A. Luque, J. Templado, F. Rubio, D. Moreno, and A. Sierra. 2006. Moluscos marinos de la zona de la isla de Alborán. Iberus, supplement 6.
    Peter, K. J., and V. T. Paulinose. 1978. Swarming of Creseis acicula Rang (Pteropoda) in the Bay of Bengal. Indian J. Mar. Sci., 7(2): 126-127.
    Prkić, J., A. Petani, Ð. Iglić, and L. Lanča. 2018. Stražnjoškržnjaci Jadranskoga Mora: Slikovni Atlas i Popis Hrvatskih Vrsta / Opisthobranchs of the Adriatic Sea: Photographic Atlas and List of Croatian Species. Ronilaćki Klub Sveti Roko, Bibinje.
    Rampal, J. 2002. Biodiversité et bioéographie chez les Cavoliniidae (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia, Euthecosomata), regions faunistiques marines. Zoosystema 24 (2): 209-258.
    Rang, P. C. 1828. Notice sur quelques mollusques nouveaux appartenant au genre Cleodore, et etablissement et monographie des sous-genre Creseis. Annales des Sciences Naturelles, 13: 302-319, pl. 17-18.
    Riedl, R. 1983. Fauna und Flora der Mittelmeeres, ein systematischer Meeresfuhrer fur Biologen und Naturfreunde, 836 pp. Paul Parey, Hamburg & Berlin.
    Rudman W.B. et al. 1998. Creseis acicula accessed through: Sea Slug Forum on 2014-12-14. (
    Stuart, A. 1871. Über das Nervensystem von Creseis acicula. Zeitschr. wiss. Zool., 21(3): 317-324.
    Tarruella, A. 2002. Moluscos marinos de Cap Ras y Llançà (Girona, NE de la península Ibérica). Spira, 1(2): 1-14.
    Templado, J., and R. Villanueva. 2010. Checklist of Phylum Mollusca. pp. 148-198 In Coll, M., et al., 2010. The biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: estimates, patterns, and threats. PLoS ONE 5(8):36pp.
    Toll, L., and M. Ballesteros. 2017. “Opistobranquios” (Mollusca: Gastropoda) de la colección malacológica Lluís Dantart. Spira 6 (2017): 171–184.
    Zirpolo, G. 1940. Azione dell’ acqua pesante sugli organismi. 8. Richerche sui molluski gasteropodi Bittium scabrum Olivi e Phyllirhoe bucephala Peron & Lesueur e sui molluski pteropodi Creseis acicula Rang e Cleodora piramidata L. Bollettino della Societa di Naturalisti, Napoli 51:3-15.

    Bibliography based on the works by Steve Long, 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000 and Gary McDonald, 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia, with later updates from other resources.

Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2021) "Creseis acicula" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 13/03/2013. Accessed: 20/04/2021. Available at (

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