Elysia gordanae

Elysia gordanae (Thompson & Jaklin, 1988)

Elysia gordanae@L´Escala, Girona by Enric Madrenas




































Elysia gordanae  T. E. Thompson & Jaklin, 1988

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 139680).
Taxonomic note: Ortea et al. (2017) proposed the synonymy between E. gordanae and E. margaritae, actually accepted by WoRMS, but it is questionable because of a huge difference in size of these species: E. margaritae was described on the basis of few specimens 33-44 mm long, while E. gordanae is much smaller and usually its size is less than 10 mm. On the other hand, there is another taxon, Elysia hetta Perrone, 1990, that is closely related to E. gordanae and is also currently accepted as valid by WoRMS. It is very probable that E. hetta‘s description was based on juveniles of E. gordanae, so it could be a junior synonym of that species. (text based on Jakov Prkić, pers.comm.). We keep E. gordanae as valid until further works are published on the subject.

Specimens of this species can grow up to 30 mm in length. The general color is greenish but it is not homogeneous, and there are usually numerous white and pink scores and granulations that lightens the hue of the body. On both sides of the head there are very faintly pigmented iridescent blue areas. The rhinophores are narrow, are rolled and are relatively short; their color is greenish and they are sprayed with white spots. The eyes are very visible right behind the rhinophores base. The parapodia are underdeveloped and use to open in angle in its anterior third. The edge of the parapodia is thickened and edged with a darker green with small whitish bumps. The dorsal vessels are very inconspicuous.

This species usually lives among green algae from the intertidal zone to down to 30 m depth. This species has been found on algae and Bryopsis and Derbesia noted that feeds the algae Cladophora chlorophycean and is able to retain their chloroplasts in his body, with a high turnover rate (Marín & Ros, 1988). The setting is a thick whitish cord wound in a spiral ondulosa (Gofas, Moreno & Salas, 2011).


  • Elysia. It is a girl’s name of Latin origin, derived from the word Elysium, which in mythology is the home of the blessed, known as the “Elysian fields”. The name Elysia also means “God’s oath” in Hebrew. Frieder Sauer comments that Elysia means heavenly.
  • Gordanae. In honour of Gordana Jaklin (19??-) likely related to one of the authors.

In addition to the type locality on the coast of Slovenia, the species has been cited only in the Iberian Peninsula (Andalusian coast, Levantine and Catalan), Canary Islands, Azores (Cervera et al. 2004) and Balearic Islands (Menorca). In Catalonia, it has been observed in Es Caials, L’Escala and the Medes Islands.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Elysia gordanae
: 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 Elysia gordanae based on our own records.



More pictures


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    Ballesteros M, Madrenas E, Pontes M. 2016. Actualización del catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira. 6:1–28.
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    Martín-Hervás MR, Carmona L, Jensen KR, et al. 2020. Description of a new pseudocryptic species of Elysia Risso, 1818 (Heterobranchia, Sacoglossa) in the Mediterranean Sea. Bull Mar Sci. 96(1):127–143. https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2018.0087.
    McDonald G. 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia. 2nd Online Edition, Annotated. 1072 pp  Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz. Available from http://escholarship.org/uc/item/8115h0wz.
    Ortea J, Moro L, Espinosa J. 1997. Nuevos datos sobre el género Elysia Risso, 1818 (Opisthobranchia: Sacoglossa) en el atlántico. Revista de la Academia Canaria de Ciencias 9 (2, 3 and 4): 141-155.
    Ortea J, Moro L, Bacallado JJ. 2017. Nota sobre dos especies del género Elysia Risso, 1818 (Mollusca: Sacoglossa) en las islas de Cabo Verde. Rev.Acad. Canar. Cienc. 29:21–30.
    Poursanidis D, Koutsoubas D. 2015. On the occurrence of Elysia gordanae Thompson & Jaklin, 1988 (Mollusca, Opisthobranchia) in East Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biodiversity.:1–2. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12526-015-0318-8.
    Prkić J, Petani A, Iglić Ð, et al. 2018. Stražnjoškržnjaci Jadranskoga Mora: Slikovni Atlas i Popis Hrvatskih Vrsta / Opisthobranchs of the Adriatic Sea: Photographic Atlas and List of Croatian Species. Bibinje: Ronilaćki Klub Sveti Roko. 464 p. Available from https://opistobranquis.info/en/recursos/llibres-recomanats/opisthobranchs-of-the-adriatic-sea/.
    Rudman W.B. et al. 1998 2010. Elysia gordanae accessed through: Sea Slug Forum on 2014-12-14. Available from http://seaslugforum.net/showall/elysgord.
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    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) "Elysia gordanae" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 14/05/2012. Accessed: 18/05/2024. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/?p=256)

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