Limapontia capitata

Limapontia capitata (O. F. Müller, 1774)

Limapontia capitata 3mm @ Menai Strait (Wales) April 2011 by Ian Smith

Class: Gastropoda  Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia  J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura  Spengel, 1881
Clade: Panpulmonata  Jörger et al., 2010
Clade: Sacoglossa  von Ihering, 1876
Superfamily: Limapontioidea  J.E. Gray, 1847
Family: Limapontiidae  J.E. Gray, 1847
Genus: Limapontia Johnston, 1836
Species: Limapontia capitata (O. F. Müller, 1774)


  • Chalidis caeruleus de Quatrefages, 1844 
  • Chalidis coerulea Quatrefages, 1844 
  • Chalidis nigricans de Quatrefages, 1844 
  • Fasciola capitata Müller O.F., 1774 (original)
  • Limapontia nigra Johnston, 1835 
  • Pontolimax varians Meyer & Möbius, 1865

Usually measures up to about 4 mm long, although there are reports of speciment up to 8mm long. Body is a smooth, without any appendages or tubercles, apart from the curved rhinophoral crest above and in front of each eye. These crests are absent in juveniles, and may not be well developed in adults, but when they are, and depending on the viewing angle, they may appear fingerlike rhinophores. The body is coloured black or dark brown, with some translucent white zones: the dorsal side of the foot, the dorsal surface of the metapodium (tail), the eye area, the rinoforales crests and often the center of the dorsum. Sometimes there are white spots in dark areas and sometimes there are also some small greenish spots with a few spots of reflective green. The anus is located a short distance behind the middle of the body on the right side, it is often difficult to see, except when defecating. The head has a truncated leading edge, and extends in front of the foot. It lacks digitiform rhinophores or oral tentacles. The foot has a translucent white sole, scattered with white dots, and often reveals the internal viscera by transparency, as they are usually of two shades of green. The foot lacks any propodial tentacles or extensions, while the front side of the foot is slightly swollen.

It does not live in brackish water, although it may be dragged into low salinity pools by tidal action. It is found on algae of the genus Cladophora, Bryopsis and Ulva. Spawning takes place from June to November, and veligers are part of the plankton for about a week before the metamorphosis.


  • Limapontia, from Greek “limax”, slug + “Pontos”, ancient personification of the sea; father of Nereus.
  • Capitata, from Latin “capitatus”, head shaped.

It is distributed from the Arctic to the Mediterranean and it is widespread along the coasts of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Limapontia capitata
: 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 observation probability for Limapontia capitata based on our own records.

More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas (2012-2018) "Limapontia capitata" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 19/10/2014, Accessed: 19/01/2018 at (

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