Umbraculum umbraculum

Umbraculum umbraculum (Lightfoot, 1786)

Umbraculum umbraculum by Enric Madrenas




































Umbraculum umbraculum  (Lightfoot, 1786)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 141879).

  • Parmophorus patelloide Cantraine, 1835
  • Patella ombracula Blainville, 1819
  • Patella sinica Gmelin, 1791
  • Patella umbraculum Lightfoot, 1786 (original)
  • Patella umbrellata Delle Chiaje, 1830
  • Umbraculum bermudense (Mörch, 1875)
  • Umbraculum botanicum Hedley, 1923
  • Umbraculum chinense Schumacher, 1817
  • Umbraculum indicum (Lamarck, 1819)
  • Umbraculum mediterraneum (Lamarck, 1819)
  • Umbraculum ovalis (Carpenter, 1856)
  • Umbraculum plicatulum (Martens, 1881)
  • Umbraculum pulchrum Lin, 1981
  • Umbraculum sinicum (Gmelin, 1791)
  • Umbrella indica Lamarck, 1819
  • Umbrella lamarckiana Récluz, 1843
  • Umbrella mediterranea Lamarck, 1819

This species is large because the adult specimens can measure up to 20 cm in length. The body is much larger than the shell, especially the foot that protrudes along the entire shell circumference. The patelliform type shell is fairly flat, with a slightly protruding apex at the center; it has a yellowish periostracum and is often covered with algae and other fouling organisms. Beneath the shell a poorly developed mantle can be seen, with the edge decorated with small conical papillae. The foot is coloured brown or orange and it is highly developed; on its dorsal side there are many large rounded tubers of different sizes and coloured in lighter shades than the body. The front side of the foot has a deep vertical slit that in the upper end holds a pair of coiled rhinophores. In the front groove and below the rhinophores the animal’s penis can be observed as a fleshy protuberance. No pedal gland is found under the foot. The gill spans along most of the right side of the body, between the mantle and the dorsal area of ​​the foot; it has 20-25 lamellae on both sides of the rachis, which is connected to the body along its whole length but the rear end, which is free. The anus is behind the gill.

A complete anatomic study of this species can be found in the Ph.D. thesis of Gaston Moquin-Tandon entitled “Recherhes anatomiques south l’ombrelle de la Mediterranee” published in 1870.

This species is usually found in different habitats and sea bottom types, like photophilic rocky bottoms, under rocks, in caves, coralligenous rocky walls and also on sandy and muddy bottoms from the intertidal zone down to 80 m depth. It feeds on different species of sponges like Tethya citrina, Jaspis johnstoni, Alectona millari, Agelas sp., Aaptos aaptos and Spiratrella cunctatrix (Cattaneo-Vietti, 1986). According to Thompson (1970) the spawn is a very pale pink, orange or grey folded and tightly wound ribbon with egg capsules of 400 microns containing up to 45 eggs each. These are about 90 microns in diameter, and a single spawn could contain from 100,000 to more than 4 million eggs. Animals, and their spawn, smell like mold when removed from water. Animals of this species have no acidic substances secretory glands in the foot as many other species of Pleurobranchomorpha, but they have skin glands that secrete certain substances called “umbraculamines”, which have been found to be icthyotoxic and therefore could have an anti-predator mission (Avila, 1993).


  • Umbraculum. From Latin “umbraculum”, parasol, umbrella, protection from Sun, shelter, shade.

This is a widely distributed species as it has been cited by many authors in almost all temperate and tropical seas, as in the shores of Florida (USA), Gulf of Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Caribbean coast of Colombia, Brazil, Cape Verde, the Mediterranean, South Africa, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique, Mauritius, Australia, New Zealand and in other parts of the Indo-Pacific. In the European continental coasts it has been cited in both the Atlantic and Mediterranean waters, also in the Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been reported from the Portuguese shores up to Catalonia, also in the Balearic islands (Cervera et al. 2004). In the Catalan shores there are records of this species in Llançà, Es Caials, Cadaqués, Sa Tuna, Medes Islands, Tossa de Mar, in the trawling ground “Les garotes” (Lloret de Mar), Blanes, Vilassar de Mar, port of Vallcarca, Sitges and Cubelles.

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


    Western Mediterranean:2 out of 5 stars
    Eastern Mediterranean:0 out of 5 stars
    Atlantic Ocean:0 out of 5 stars

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Umbraculum umbraculum based on our own records.



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Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2020) "Umbraculum umbraculum" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 14/05/2012, Accessed: 09/04/2020 at (

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