Hermaea variopicta

Hermaea variopicta (Costa, 1869)

Hermaea variopicta @ Banyuls (France) 01-07-1992 by Géry Parent

Taxonomy
 

Superdomain

Biota  

 

Kingdom

Animalia  

 

Phylum

Mollusca  

 

Class

Gastropoda  

 

Subclass

Heterobranchia  

 

Infraclass

Euthyneura  

 

Subterclass

Tectipleura  

 

Superorder

Sacoglossa  

 

Superfamily

Plakobranchoidea  

 

Family

Hermaeidae  

 

Genus

Hermaea  

 

Species

Hermaea variopicta  (A. Costa, 1869)

 
 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 140095).
Synonyms

  • Hermaea polychroma Hesse, 1872
  • Hermaeopsis variopicta Costa A., 1869 (original)

Description
Specimens of this species usually measure between 10 and 15 mm in length but there are reports with a maximum size of 30-40 mm. This is a visually striking species because of its colour: a purple-violet body, more or less dark deppending of the animals. There are many orange, yellow and white elongated spots distributed along the head, rhinophores, back of the body and cerata. These different colour spots are combined in a very complex way with the purple body colour on the head zone, in front of and behind the rhinophores. The rhinophores are auriculate, wider in its middle section and with pointed tips; the dorsal side of each rhinophore features a yellowish-white strip pigmented band emerging from the head. The eyes are very visible at the end of a white area, somewhat behind the base of the rhinophores. Pericardial area, located between the first cerata, is visible because it is pigmented as an “ocellus” (fake eye): a white oval spot encircled by a purple band and externally bordered by an orange band. The cerata are rather flattened, broad in its middle section and with a pointed tip, having the ability to greatly expand, acquiring a rounded shape, and contract; they are coloured as the body but with orange pigmented tips and an opaque white leading edge. The larger cerata are the internal, decreasing their size outwards. The anus is located right ahead of the cardiac area. The foot is white and its front area is widened and rounded.

Biology
Because this is a relatively scarce species, few details of its biology are known. It is usually found among rhodophycean algae where, because of its cryptic coloration, often goes unnoticed. It has been cited living and feeding among the following species of algae: Halurus equisetifolius (B. Picton), Solieria chordalis and Plocamium cartilagineum (H. Limouzin). Its spawn is formed by a transparent ribbon 2-3 mm in diameter, sometimes spirally wound, with white eggs.

Etymology

  • Hermaea. Derived from Hermes, a character from Greek mythology.
  • Variopicta. From Latin “vario-“, fluctuate, change, variegate, vary, waver, mark with contrasting colors + “picta”, colored, decorated, painted.

Distribution
This is an European species that has been cited in the Atlantic coasts of the British Isles and France, Morocco and the Western Mediterranean. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been observed in all both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastal areas (Cervera et al, 2004), also in the Balearic and Canary Islands. In the Catalan coast it has been cited in Es Caials, L’Escala, Tossa de Mar and Blanes.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Hermaea variopicta
Sources:
: OBIS
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
: GBIF.ORG
: OPK
: VIMAR
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions

Abundance

    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:

More pictures

Bibliography

Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Hermaea variopicta" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 14/05/2012, Accessed: 19/06/2018 at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/6wxVv)

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