Greilada elegans
Bergh, 1894

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Polyceridae
Subfamily: Polycerinae


NE Atlantic and Mediterranean [SW British Isles, Atlantic coast of France, Spain, Canary Ids, Italy]


Gran Canaria, Canary Ids. Photo: Arthur Telle

Ranges in background colour from yellow to bright orange with distinctive raised bright blue spots scattered over the dorsum and sides of the body. Sometimes there are small red specks in the blue spots. From alongside the rhinophores on each side there is a ridge marking the mantle edge. It is white with small blue spots, and runs back the join its partner from the other side in the dorsal midline just behind the gills, and from there a single line runs down the posterior midline to the posterior tip of the foot. The anterior mantle, around the head, forms a rounded mantle skirt with up to 22 fingerlike papillae along the edge. It is not eadged with white. Usually there are no papillae or mantle processes on the mantle edge alongside the gills, although Thompson & Brown (1984) report the presence of a pair of tiny papillae on rare occasions. It is reported by Picton & Morrow (1994) to feed on the bryozoan Bugula turbinata and Thompson & Brown (1984) report it feeding on two other species of Bugula. Grows to 48mm long in British Isles, but records from the Mediterranean rarely exceed 20mm.

Some authors treat Greilada as a subgenus of Polycera, but to be consistent other genera, such as Palio would also need to treated as subgenera. I prefer to use Greilada as a genus name until this group is fully reviewed.

• Picton, B.E. and Morrow, C.C. 1994. A Field Guide to the Nudibranchs of the British Isles. 144pp. Immel Publishing: London
• Thompson, T.E. & Brown, G.H. (1984) Biology of Opisthobranch Molluscs, Vol 2. Ray Society: London.

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2004 (February 12) Greilada elegans Bergh, 1894. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

Greilada elegans from the Canary Ids

February 14, 2004
From: Arthur Telle

Dear Bill,
I have seen that you don't have listed in your Forum the species Polycera elegans. This species is identified for the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranen. Its max. size is about 20 mm, and it's located in depths between 5 and 25 m. I send you a photograph taken at Gran Canaria, for if you want to enclose the species in your forum.

Telle, A., 2004 (Feb 14) Greilada elegans from the Canary Ids. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Arthur,
Thanks for this beautiful addition to the Forum. Until this group is reviewed in detail I would prefer to leave Greilada as a full genus name rather than as a subgenus of Polycera. I consider subgenera to be an example of taxonomical book-keeping rather than an indication of a biological event - but I guess that is an argument I should leave until I have more time to spare
Best wishes
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2004 (Feb 14). Comment on Greilada elegans from the Canary Ids by Arthur Telle. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from