Aeolid from the Azores

July 25, 2002
From: Gonçalo Calado

Dear All

Last May I found this Aeolidacean in Fayal Island (Azores, Portugal - North Atlantic) on an arborescent bryozoan. Does anyone have any idea what it could be?
Best wishes

Calado, G., 2002 (Jul 25) Aeolid from the Azores. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Gonçalo,
I am pretty sure this is the same animal that Malcolm Edmunds (1968) described from West Africa (Ghana) as a form of Berghia verrucicornis. However, as he discusses, and do other authors, this species is not well understood. I am surprised how poorly known some of these Mediterranean - European aeolids appear to be. It also has similarities to Spurilla columbina Garcia-Gomez & Thompson, 1990, but that description is not very clear either. I am however puzzled by the 'wrinkles' on the rhinophores as seen in your photo. Both S. columbina and B. verruciornis are said to have papillate rhinophores, but in the photos I have seen 'wrinkles' would be a more appropriate description.

Important colour features in your animal would include the median white line down the dorsum, which is described by Edmunds in Ghanaian material, and the orange border to the foot, which is a character that I can find no reference to in other descriptions. Either Berghia verrucicornis is quite variable in colour, or there are a number of similar species throughout the Atlantic. When discussing this species, I am of course not referring to the animal sold in the USA for Aiptasia control, which is almost certainly something else.

If anyone else has any thoughts on this species they would be very welcome as I could be quite wrong.

• Edmunds, M. (1968) Eolid Mollusca from Ghana with further details of west Atlantic species. Bulletin of Marine Science, 18(1): 203-219.
• Garcia-G¢mez, J.C. & Thompson, T.E. (1990) North Atlantic spurillid nudibranchs, with a description of a new species, Spurilla columbina, from the Andalusian coast of Spain. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 56: 323-331.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Jul 25). Comment on Aeolid from the Azores by Gonçalo Calado. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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