Berghia rissodominguezi = B. columbina

February 9, 2004
From: Bill Rudman

Last year I identified a species of aeolid from the Caribbean as Berghia rissodominguezi [see #11258], a species considered endemic to the western Atlantic. In their original description, the authors (Muniain & Ortea, 1999) compare their species with other aeolidiids described from all parts of the Atlantic, discuss the phenomenon of amphiatlantic species, and conclude they have a new species, endemic to the west Atlantic.

However they seem to have missed Spurilla columbina Garcia-Gomez & Thompson, 1990, a species described from, and known only from the Andalusian coast of Spain. This species agrees in all material points of the colour pattern, external shape and internal anatomy. To keeps things uncomplicated, I follow Miller (2001) in placing species such as Spurilla columbina, with papillate rhinophores, in the genus Berghia.

If I am correct, Berghia columbina, rather than being a Spanish endemic, would appear to be an amphiatlantic species with a wide distribution also in the western Atlantic. It is fitting that this species, which was named to commemorate Christopher Columbus's first European contact with the Americas, may have been travelling across the Atlantic itself, many years before we found out how to.

Before I make the necessary changes on the Forum, I would be grateful for any comments for or against this proposed synonymy.

• Miller, M.C. (2001) Aeolid nudibranchs (Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia) of the family Aeolidiidae from New Zealand waters. Journal of Natural History, 35(5): 629-663.
• Garcia-G┬ómez, 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.
• Muniain, C. & Ortea, J. (1999). First records of the genus Berghia Trinchese, 1877 (Opisthobranchia: Aeolidiidae) from Argentina, with description of a new species. Avicennia, 10-11: 143-150

Best wishes
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2004 (Feb 9) Berghia rissodominguezi = B. columbina. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

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