Peltodoris atromaculata
Bergh, 1880

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Dorididae


Mediterranean and nearby Atlantic coasts.


UPPER: On food sponge Petrosia ficiformis, near Chalkidiki, Greece, March 2000. Photo: Claudia Gravenstein.
LOWER: Capoliveri, Elba, Italy. July 02, 1997, depth: 25m, size: 5 cm. divesite: Stella. Photo: Erwin Koehler.

Note added 8 August 2007: Valdes (2002) considers Peltodoris to be anatomically distinct from Discodoris. Since Peltodoris atromaculata is the type species of the genus it is illogical to retain it in Discodoris. [see message #20135]. I will rewrite this Fact Sheet when I get time.

See Avila (1996) for a good review of the natural history and biology of D. atromaculata, which was known for many years as Peltodoris atromaculata. Most authors now consider it to be a species of Discodoris, but some, like Avila consider there are anatomical features which distinguish it from that genus. Thompson (1985) describes a cline in colour pattern from west to east in Mediterranean, with specimens in the eastern Mediterranean having proportionally more dark brown/black pigment on the mantle than specimens from the western end. It feeds on the sponge Petrosia ficiformis (Poiret) and spends much of its time on the sponge. It accumulates natural chemical products, such as petroformynes, from the sponge and stores them in its digestive gland. It is able to autotomise parts of its mantle skirt but defense seems to rely on its spiculate mantle and disruptive coloration rather then defensive secretions, as the mantle secretions have been shown to have a neutral ph. It can grow to approx 120mm in length.

• Avila, C., (1996) The growth of Peltodoris atromaculata Bergh, 1880 (Gastropoda, Nudibranchia) in the laboratory. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 62: 151-157.
See D. atromaculata - References for a list of references on the biology and natural history of this species.

A selection of photos of this characteristic species can be found at Erwin Koehler's Mediterranean Slug Site.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2001 (April 28) Peltodoris atromaculata Bergh, 1880. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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