Tylodina rafinesquii

Tylodina rafinesquii Philippi, 1836

Tylodina rafinesquii @ by Enric Madrenas




































Tylodina rafinesquii  R. A. Philippi, 1836

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 750946).

  • Tylodinella trinchesii Mazzarelli, 1897

The body is oval shaped, coloured opaque yellow, elevated and not as wide as the shell. The mantle is narrow, not exceeding the size of the external shell. The shell is patelliform, elevated and conical, with a shiny yellowish white surface that shows concentric growth lines. The apex of the shell extends slightly backwards and towards the left. The periostracum extends beyond the shell margin and shows no radial brown stripes. Rhinophores are long, cylindrical, folded longitudinally and thicker at their base. The eyes are located in front of the base of the rhinophores, inside an unpigmented area. There is a a pair of triangular oral tentacles. The gill has 14-16 branches on each side of the rachis and is located on right side of the body, protected by the shell. The foot is large and oval shaped like the body.

Specimens from the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean were found active both during day and night, always at shallow depths (0–4 m). The Atlantic Ocean specimens were collected on the sponge Aplysina aerophoba, while the ones from the Mediterranean were observed at the entrance of a cave and feeding on an Aplysina sponge, (but not the common species A. cavernicola nor A. aerophoba). It apparently feeds on Aplysina sponges, but it probably its main food are diatoms and foraminiferans growing into the sponge tissues, while taking some sponge products that give the animal its colour, identical to that of the sponge, for camouflage purposes. The spawn is a yellowish flat spiral with white eggs, smaller than those of T. perversa.


  • Rafinesquii. In honor to Contantine Samuel Rafinesque (1783-1840), polyglot and man of very varied talents who had a great interest in zoology and, especially, in malacology. In some of his works he described thousands of new species (he is the author of more than 6,700 taxa published between 1836 and 1838), but this propensity to find new species earned him severe criticism from the scientific community, which on the opposite also recognized him excellent natural history works.

Reported in Madeira (Watson, 1897), the Mediterranean coast of France (as T. perversa by Göbbeler & Klussmann-Kolb, 2010, 2011); Italy (as Tylodinella trinchesii by Philippi, 1836; Mazzarelli, 1897), the NE Iberian Peninsula where it has been reported in Sant Feliu de Guíxols (Girona, Spain) by Fernández-Vilert et al. (2020) and Lanzarote, Canary Islands also by Fernández-Vilert et al. (2020).

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

Similar species
Tylodina perversa has a depressed shell with a well-developed periostracum marked by brown radial bands, while T. rafinesquii has an elevated shell with an indistinct periostracum lacking brown radial stripes. These species also have differences in the radula. Tylodina duebenii is similar, but smaller in size and with the body coloured dark brownish purple, lives in deep water in the Mediterranean Sea and Eastern Atlantic (Warén & di Paco, 1996).


    Western Mediterranean: ★☆☆☆☆
    Eastern Mediterranean: ☆☆☆☆☆
    Atlantic Ocean: ★☆☆☆☆

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Tylodina rafinesquii based on our own records.

More pictures


    Fernández-Vilert R, Giribet G, Salvador X, et al. 2020. Assessing the systematics of Tylodinidae in the Mediterranean Sea and Eastern Atlantic Ocean: resurrecting Tylodina rafinesquii Philippi, 1836 (Heterobranchia: Umbraculida). Journal of Molluscan Studies. 0:1–17. https://doi.org/10.1093/mollus/eyaa031.
    Göbbeler K, Klussmann-Kolb A. 2011. Molecular phylogeny of the Euthyneura (Mollusca, Gastropoda) with special focus on Opisthobranchia as a framework for reconstruction of evolution of diet. Thalassas. 27(2):121–154. Available from ://WOS:000291629300009.
    Mazzarelli G. 1897. Contributo alla conoscenza delle Tylodinidae, nuova famiglia del gruppo dei Molluschi Tectibranchi. Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere. 10:596–608.
    Philippi RA. 1836. Enumeratio molluscorum Siciliae cum viventium tum in tellure tertiaria fossilium, quae in itinere suo observavit. Vol. 1. Schropp, Berlin [Berolini]: xiv + 267 p., pl. 1-12. Available from https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/100735#/summary.
    Romani L. 2014. Mediterranean Umbraculida Odhner, 1939 (Gastropoda, Opisthobranchia): diagnostic tools and new records. Biodiversity Journal. 5(4):515–520.
    Watson RB. 1897. On the marine Mollusca of Madeira; with descriptions of thirty-five new species, and an index-list of all the known sea-dwelling species of that island. Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology 26: 233-329, pl. 19, 20.

    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:

Pontes, Miquel, Manuel Ballesteros, Enric Madrenas (2023) "Tylodina rafinesquii" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 19/12/2020. Accessed: 05/03/2024. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/?p=31134)

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