Berthella stellata
(Risso, 1826)

Family: Pleurobranchidae


Worldwide distribution in tropical and temperate waters


Noumea, New Caledonia, October 1988, 15-20mm long. LOWER LEFT showing enrolled rhinophoral head tentacles. PHOTOS: Bill Rudman.

Originally described from the Mediterranean, it is found throughout the Indo-West Pacific and also the tropical west American coast and the Caribbean, under various names. In the Pacific it was usually known as Berthella pellucida. It grows to about 20mm and usually has a translucent white background with a network of white lines around low pustules. The brownish viscera is visible through the mantle wall and most specimens have traces of a white cross-like mark in the centre of the mantle with four white diagonal marks arranged symmetrically, one between each pair of the arms of the cross. The markings are usually more obvious in juvenile specimens. In adults, often only the four diagonal white marks are present. There is a flattened, thinly calcified, but well developed shell embedded in the mantle tissue.

• Risso, A. (1826). Les Nudibranches, pp 30-54 In: Histoire des principales productions de l'Europe Meridionale et particulierement de celles des environs de Nice et des Alpes Maritimes, 4.
• Gosliner, T.M. & Bertsch, H. (1988). A review of the genus Berthella (Opisthobranchia: Notaspidea) from the Pacific Coast of North America. The Veliger, 31: 46-67.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1999 (March 9) Berthella stellata (Risso, 1826). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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