Runcina africana

Runcina africana (Pruvot-Fol, 1953)

Runcina africana (Costa Brava) by Manuel Ballesteros by Manuel Ballesteros




































Runcina africana  Pruvot-Fol, 1953

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 141406).
Specimens of this species usually measure between 3 and 3.5 mm in length. The general body color is very dark brown, almost black, with two creamy-white irregular lines that traverse the anterior and posterior region of the dorsum, the first delimiting the head. In the front of the head there are two small rounded cephalic lobes. The largest specimens may have numerous small white scores scattered on the dorsum. This is slightly wider than the foot but , in the front and at the head level there are two small protruding pedal lobes. On the back of the head there are two clear oval stains where the eyes are visible. In side view there are some slightly dark iridisations that can be seen on the lateral edge of the mantle and on the foot. In ventral view, the foot is homogenous black-brown color, slightly lighter than the dorsum and with the foot lateral edges slightly lighter than the rest of the foot; there could be a slightly orange color in the center. The tail is short and wide and has a creamy white color background, pigmented dorsally by large irregular spots. Between the posterior region of the dorsum and the tail there are three protruding gill leaves tightly overlapped of the same color of the body, the center leaf is the largest and has about 4 short lamellae.

There are very few data of this species presence, so little is known about its biology. Like other species of the genus, because of its small size it is very cryptic on the substrate and usually only appears when infralittoral algae are collected and studied in the laboratory. Thus it has been cited among coralline algae and Jania rubens (Cervera et al., 1991), between algae Codium vermilara, Halopteris sp., soft stipe rhodophyceae algae and calcareous algae (Correa, 2012).


  • Runcina. From Latin “runcina”, carpenter’s plane, a tool used to smooth the wood’s surface.
  • Africana, from Africa, origin of the type specimens for the species, collected in the Atlantic shores of Morocco.

Runcina africana was described by Pruvot-Fol in 1953 based on specimens collected in the intertidal zone of Temara, Atlantic coast of Morocco (Pruvot-Fol 1953). Since then it has only been collected in the town of Punta Carnero, in the intertidal zone of the Strait of Gibraltar (Cervera et al 1991), in the Canary islands (Ortea & Moro, 1999) and more recently Schmekel & Capellato (2002), have collected them in Banyuls sur Mer (French Costa Brava). In the Catalan coast it has been observed on the coast of the Cap de Creus, Cala Margarida (Palamós) and Blanes.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Runcina africana
: 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 monthly observation probability for Runcina africana based on our own records.

More pictures


    Araujo AK, Pola M, Malaquías MAE, et al. 2022. Molecular phylogeny of European Runcinida (Gastropoda,  Heterobranchia): the discover of an unexpected pool of complex species, with special reference to the case of Runcina coronata. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. XX:1–28.
    Bacallado JJ, Ortea J, Moro L, et al. 2008. Inventario de los moluscos de la marina de Arrecife, Lanzarote. Canarias Conservación.:1–32. Available from
    Ballesteros M, Madrenas E, Pontes M. 2016. Actualización del catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira. 6:1–28.
    Ballesteros M, Madrenas E, Pontes M. 2024. OPK - Opistobranquis. Available from
    Cervera JL, García-Gómez JC, García FJ. 1991. The genus Runcina Forbes & Hanley, 1851 (Opisthobranchia, Cephalaspidea) in the Strait of Gibraltar, with de description of a new species from the Bay of Algeciras. Journal of Molluscan Studies. 57:199–208. Available from ://WOS:A1991GX37100019.
    Cervera JL, Calado G, Gavaia C, et al. 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.
    Correa M, Madrenas E, Riesgo A, et al. 2015. First molecular approach to the study of Mediterranean Runcina Forbes [in Forbes & Hanley], 1851 (Heterobranchia: Runcinacea).
    Long SJ. 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000. Bayside Books & Press, Tustin, CA, U.S.A. 672p.
    Malaquias MAE, Mackenzie-Dodds J, Bouchet P, et al. 2009. A molecular phylogeny of the Cephalaspidea sensu lato (Gastropoda: Euthyneura): Architectibranchia redefined and Runcinacea reinstated. Zoologica Scripta 38(1): 23-41.
    Malaquias M, Calado G, Padula V, et al. 2009. Molluscan diversity in the North Atlantic Ocean: new records of opisthobranch gastropods from the Archipelago of the Azores. Marine Biodiversity. 2:e38.
    McDonald G. 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia. 2nd Online Edition, Annotated. 1072 pp  Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. Available from
    Moro L, Bacallado JJ, Ortea JA. 2010. Babosas marinas de las islas Canarias. Actas VI Semana Científica Telesforo Bravo, Instituto de Estudios Hispánicos de Canarias.
    Moro L, Ocaña O, Bacallado JJ, et al. 2017. Nota sobre tres babosas marinas (Nudibranchia y Sacoglossa) colectadas en las costas atlánticas de África (Cabo Espartel, Agadir y Dakhla), con un listado de especies acompañantes. Vieraea 45: 205-214.
    Moro L, Martín Esquivel JL, Garrido Sanahuja MJ, et al. 2003. Lista de especies marinas de Canarias (algas, hongos, plantas y animales). Consejería de Política Territorial y Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Canarias. 248 p.
    Ortea J, Moro L, Espinosa J. 2007. Descripción de dos especies nuevas del género Runcina Forbes y Hanley, 1853 (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia: Cephalaspidea) de la isla de Cuba. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias, 18(3-4): 27-32.
    Oskars TR, Bouchet P, Malaquias MAE. 2015. A new phylogeny of the Cephalaspidea (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia)based on expanded taxon sampling and gene markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 89 (2015) 130–150. Available from
    Parera A, Pontes M, Salvador X, et al. 2020. Sea slugs (Mollusca, Gastropoda, Heterobranchia): the other inhabitants of the city of Barcelona (Spain). Butlletí de la Institució Catalana d’Història Natural, 84: 75-100.
    Pontes M, Salvador X, Parera A, et al. 2021. Biodiversity in anthropized marinas. The case of the Barcelona Forum bathing area (Spain). Barcelona: Institució Catalana d’Història Natural (Monografies de la Societat Catalana d’Història Natural). 68 p.
    Pruvot-Fol A. 1953. Etude de quelques Opisthobranches de la côte Atlantique du Maroc et du Senegal. Travaux de l’Institut Scientifique Chérifien 5: 1-105.
    Schmekel L, Cappellato D. 2002. Contributions to the Runcinidae. II. Three new species and comparative studies on five established species of Runcina (Opisthobranchia Cephalaspidea) in the Mediterranean. Vie et Milieu 52 (2-3): 86-102.
    Templado J, Villanueva R. 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.
    WoRMS Editorial Board. 2023. World Register of Marine Species. WoRMS. Available from

    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, M., Madrenas, E. & Pontes, M. (2023) "Runcina africana" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 14/08/2013. Accessed: 25/05/2024. Available at (

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