Re: Is this Doris verrucosa?

October 21, 1999
From: Ángel Valdés

Dear Bill,

I'm pretty sure that the species photographed by Daniel Geiger is Doris verrucosa. Unfortunately I don't have any photo of this species with me, but I collected it very often in Northern Spain. The spherical dorsal tubercles and the long papillae around the gill and rhinophoral sheaths are very characteristic of Doris verrucosa, and are not present in any other Atlantic species. As you said, the specimen in the picture has a dorsal gill, and therefore it is not a phyllidiid. Moreover, Phyllidiopsis berghi is a uniformly white species with smaller dorsal tubercles. It is a very rare species only found in deep waters.

Doris verrucosa is one of the most common Atlantic species of dorids but its identity is not very clear. It was described by Linnaeus in 1758 based on two prelinnean non-binominal works: Rumphius (1705) and Seba (1735), and a short description in Latin. I checked these prelinnean papers with Philippe Bouchet in Paris and we found that none of these authors described what we call today Doris verrucosa. Rumphius described a shell-less gastropod, probably an Onchidella whereas Seba described an specimen of Phyllidiella pustulosa. After all Doris verrucosa could be a phyllidiid! It is obvious that Linnaeus never saw specimens of Doris verrucosa and he described this species as having several tentacles around the mouth! Few authors detected these problems long time ago, and that's why the name Staurodoris has been proposed to replace Doris. Philippe Bouchet and I sent a proposal to the Commission of Zoological Nomenclature asking to designate a neotype for Doris verrucosa, according to the present usage of the name, and to suppress the name Staurodoris.


Valdés, A., 1999 (Oct 21) Re: Is this Doris verrucosa?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


Doris verrucosa

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