Runcina avellana

Runcina avellana  Schmekel & Cappellato, 2001

Runcina avellana by Enric Madrenas

Class: Gastropoda  Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia  J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura  Spengel, 1881
Clade: Euopisthobranchia  Jörger et al., 2010
Clade:  Runcinacea  Burn, 1963
Superfamily: Runcinoidea  H. Adams & A. Adams, 1854
Family: Runcinidae  J.E. Gray, 1857
Genus: Runcina  Forbes Hanley, 1851
Species: Runcina avellana  Schmekel & Cappellato, 2001

Taxonomic note: The description of the species (Schmekel & Capellato, 2001) referred to the only anatomically studied specimen, 1.2 mm long when alive, as having a radular formula of 3 x 1.0.1, which is considered by the authors as the rudimentary radula of a juvenile. They found no internal shell nor could recover any gastric plates after treating the sample with NaOH. These features induced Ortea (2013. Descripción de un nuevo runcináceo de las costas de Ghana, África occidental. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias, 25: 9-14) to propose the provisional inclusion of this species in the genus Pseudoilbia within the Ilbidae family, including species of the genus Ilbia Burn, 1963 and Pseudoilbia Miller & Rudman, 1968 with no gastric plaques within their digestive tract and the second genus also without spinal tooth. The WoRMS follows the opinion of Ortea and names the species as Pseudoilbia avellana (Schmekel & Capellato, 2001). However, because only one apparently juvenile specimen has been studied, in OPK we prefer to keep the species R.avellana within the genus Runcina until further studies of other specimens that may appear in future allow confirmation of the inclusion in one or other genus.



  • Pseudoilbia avellana Schmekel & Cappellato, 2001

This species is about 2 mm long and has a clearly elongated body. The anterior notum is somewhat narrower than the foot and does not have any cephalic lobes while the rear end has an oval contour. The foot has the same width as the notum except in the front, where it protrudes slightly at the sides of the head region, and the rear, where it forms a short, rounded tail. The coloration is uniform chocolate brown except the anterior and lateral regions of the head, some areas of the edge of notum, foot and tail, which are semitransparent and lighter coloured. The eyes are clearly visible and are located near the side edges of the head region, on the lighter coloured area. The edge of the foot has small brown spots along its length and the tail has a larger spot of the same color, shaped like an inverted “Y”. Schmekel & Capellato (2001) state that the specimens had a single rounded branchial leaf.

This little-known species are known to live in Posidonia oceanica rhizomes, like other species of the same genus, and it has also appeared among masses of algae like Codium vermilara (personal communication of E. Madrenas).


  • Runcina. The Latin word for carpenter’s plane, a tool used to smooth the surface of the wood.
  • Avellana. This is related to the city of Avellino (Campania, Italy) which was called “Abella” during the Roman domination, and was known for their hazel plantations, whose fruit was called “nux avellana”, Abella nut. The fruit of the hazel was also known in ancient Castilian as “avellina”. Refers to the chocolate brown colour of this opisthobranch’s body, similar to hazelnut.

To date, R. avellana was only known from the town of Banyuls-sur-mer on the French coast of the western Mediterranean, thanks to the collection of 3 live specimens of 1, 1.2 and 1.5 mm in length. The record of a specimen collected from algae in the Medes Islands (Catalonia, Costa Brava) means the second global cite for this species.

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

References for the species: Runcina avellana

    We have not yet published references for Iberian coasts of: Runcina avellana.


    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:
This chart displays the observation probability for Runcina avellana based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes et al. (2012-2017) "Runcina avellana" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 19/09/2012, Accessed: 18/12/2017 at (

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