Berghia verrucicornis
(A. Costa, 1864)

Family: Aeolidiidae


The Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean Sea and west Africa to the east coast of the Americas from North Carolina in the USA to southern Brazil.


Velilla Beach, Almuñecar (Granada), Spain., October,1997.  2 cm long.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Luis Sánchez Tocino, Granada, Spain.


Spurilla australis

Note added 20 August 2005:  The animal used for Aiptasia control under the name Berghia verrucicornis is not that species. It has recently been named Aeolidella stephanieae. See also separate page for messages and discussion on 'Berghia verrucicornis' in aquaria [buying, selling, where to obtain, Aiptasia control etc].

• Costa, A. (1867 for 1864). Sui molluschi eolididei del Golfo di Napoli. Ann. Mus. Zool. Napoli, 4(2): 26-37, pls. 1, 2

Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 1998 (July 2) Berghia verrucicornis (A. Costa, 1864). [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

Berghia verrucicornis from French Mediterranean

July 8, 2006
From: Marina Poddubetskaia Ossokine

Dear Bill,

Here is a photo of Berghia verrucicornis from the Mediterranean coast of France.  I saw many specimens of this species in Arcachon Basin, in Senegal and now in the Mediterranean. And all of them seem to be completely identical externally.

Locality: 'La digue', Port-Leucate , 3 m, France, Mediterranean, 24 June 2006. Length: 16mm. Photographer: Marina Poddubetskaia Ossokine.

All the best,
Nembro website

Poddubetskaia Ossokine, M., 2006 (Jul 8) Berghia verrucicornis from French Mediterranean. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Marina,
Thanks you so much - at last a good photo of a 'typical' Berghia verrucicornis from the Mediterranean, where it was first described from. I really have no excuse now for not preparing a proper Fact Sheet for this species. As I have discussed before, Aeolidella stephanieae, the US aquarium animal which for so long was misidentified as B. verrucicornis, is obviously quite different.

I have included a close-up alongside as it shows the orange markings on the body as found in Trinchese's old paintings [message #3918 ]

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2006 (Jul 8). Comment on Berghia verrucicornis from French Mediterranean by Marina Poddubetskaia Ossokine. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Real Berghia verrucicornis from Senegal

June 21, 2003
From: Marina Poddubetskaia

Dear Bill,
Here is Berghia verrucicornis from near Dakar. I didn't recognise this species because the photos on the Forum are rather different. Lucas Cervera identified it for me. And I agree this animal fits Trinchese's plate very well.

Date: June 04, 2003
Location: Senegal, Eastern Atlantic
Site: Roches de Bargny
Depth: 11m
Size: 15mm
Photos: Marina Poddubetskaia - Nembro website

Best wishes,

Thanks Marina,
This certainly looks like the animal in Trinchese's plate. It makes me wonder whether the animal in your earlier earlier message is the same species, but without more information on its rhinophore morphology etc we will never know.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2003 (Jun 21). Comment on Real Berghia verrucicornis from Senegal by Marina Poddubetskaia. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Aeolid from the Azores

July 25, 2002
From: Gonçalo Calado

Dear All

Last May I found this Aeolidacean in Fayal Island (Azores, Portugal - North Atlantic) on an arborescent bryozoan. Does anyone have any idea what it could be?
Best wishes

Calado, G., 2002 (Jul 25) Aeolid from the Azores. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Gonçalo,
I am pretty sure this is the same animal that Malcolm Edmunds (1968) described from West Africa (Ghana) as a form of Berghia verrucicornis. However, as he discusses, and do other authors, this species is not well understood. I am surprised how poorly known some of these Mediterranean - European aeolids appear to be. It also has similarities to Spurilla columbina Garcia-Gomez & Thompson, 1990, but that description is not very clear either. I am however puzzled by the 'wrinkles' on the rhinophores as seen in your photo. Both S. columbina and B. verruciornis are said to have papillate rhinophores, but in the photos I have seen 'wrinkles' would be a more appropriate description.

Important colour features in your animal would include the median white line down the dorsum, which is described by Edmunds in Ghanaian material, and the orange border to the foot, which is a character that I can find no reference to in other descriptions. Either Berghia verrucicornis is quite variable in colour, or there are a number of similar species throughout the Atlantic. When discussing this species, I am of course not referring to the animal sold in the USA for Aiptasia control, which is almost certainly something else.

If anyone else has any thoughts on this species they would be very welcome as I could be quite wrong.

• Edmunds, M. (1968) Eolid Mollusca from Ghana with further details of west Atlantic species. Bulletin of Marine Science, 18(1): 203-219.
• Garcia-G¢mez, 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.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Jul 25). Comment on Aeolid from the Azores by Gonçalo Calado. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Berghia verrucicornis in Israel?

July 6, 2002
From: Mark Sherman

I live in Israel and have a 400 liter reef. I am trying to obtain Berghia verrucicornis to help control the Aiptasia in my tank.

Any suggestions where to look for Berghia verrucicornis in the Mediterranean? Right off the coast? At what depth? Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Mark Sherman

Sherman, M., 2002 (Jul 6) Berghia verrucicornis in Israel?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Mark,
You have no doubt seen the on-going discussion about the true identity of the 'commercial' B. verrucicornis sold in the USA. It would certainly be interesting to know if the Mediterranean B. verrucicornis ate Aiptasia. The big problem is finding it. I don't know if it has been recorded from there but in the western Mediterranean it has been reported from relatively shallow water [10m or less] on rocky bottoms. The only comprehensive list of opisthobranchs from Israel is quite old (Barash & Danin, 1971) so even though it is not in that list does not mean it can't be found. In a subsequent paper on feeding (Barash & Zenziper, 1984) they mention that Spurilla neapolitana feeds on Aiptasia sulcata so there may be something close by to solve your problem.

I would suggest you get in touch with Henk K. Mienis who may be able to give you further information or suggest some one who can. He is at the:
National Mollusc Collection
Dept. Evolution, Systematics & Ecology
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
IL-91904 Jerusalem.

• Barash, A & Danin, Z. (1971) Opisthobranchia (Mollusca) from the Mediterranean waters of Israel. Israel Journal of Zoology, 20: 151-200.
• Barash, A. & Zenziper, Z. (1984) On the food of some Opisthobranchs found in the Mediterranean waters of Israel. Levantina, 51: 585-598.

If you have any luck I would love to hear about it.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2002 (Jul 6). Comment on Berghia verrucicornis in Israel? by Mark Sherman. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Re: Are all Berghias equal?

December 7, 2001
From: David Fisher

In reading through many of the past posts from others, I glean that there is some controversy about what exactly is being sold as Berghias. In response, I would like to share that the beasties I rec'd looked like the ones Carlo referenced when he cited ,"The Reef Aquarium, Volume Two", pg. 426. I'd post a pic, but alas, I can't find these elusive creatures in my tank, now.

They were very pale when they arrived, but became a pale blue with brilliant color on the tips of the cerata. The creatures were shipped from Southern California, which at first blush seems odd for an Atlantic species, but my limited research indicates that captive breeding has been successful.
Hope this helps!

Fisher, D., 2001 (Dec 7) Re: Are all Berghias equal?. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks David,
I guess some day some one will send in a photo of these commercial ones so we can have a look at what they really are
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.B., 2001 (Dec 7). Comment on Re: Are all Berghias equal? by David Fisher. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Berghia verrucicornis from France

March 8, 2001
From: Michel Barrabés

I found a wild nudi I identified as Berghia verrucicornis at Arcachon France, on 23/12/2000. It was 8 to 10 mm long, stuck on a tail fin of Syngnathe [fish], at 3 m. depth on a broken shell bottom.

I took pictures, but badly lit. It is white, with orange rings at the tip of ceratas. So, its body looks like this of Eubranchus farrani on the Picton's book cover. Its rhinophores seem lamellate and orange coloured, with white tip. I'll soon post the picture on Koehler's site.

Another question : Is the correct name Berghia verrucicornis or Spurilla verrucicornis?

Barrabés, M., 2001 (Mar 8) Berghia verrucicornis from France. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Michel,
Your photo reminded me of an old colour plate which I reproduce alongside from Trinchese (1881 - Plate 1). Trinchese identified it as Berghia coerulescens - a misidentification which led to confusion between the two species for over 100 years.

Trinchese, S (1881) Aeolididae e famiglie affini del Porto di Genova. Part 2. Anatomia, Fisiologia, Embriologia delle Phyllobranchidae, Hermaeidae, Aeolididae, Proctonotidae, Dotonidae del Porto di Genova. Memorie della Classe di scienze fisiche, matematiche e naturali, serie 3, 11(4 January): 1-142, Pls 1-80.

Concerning your question about whether Berghia or Spurilla is the correct genus name. Have a look at an earlier message where I discuss this very question. One of the characters separating the two genera are the rhinophores, papillate in Berghia and lamellate in Spurilla. In 'Berghia' verrucicornis, as you can see in Trinchese's plate the sides of the rhinophore clubs are lamellate, while posteriorly the rhinophore club is papillate.

I'm sorry I can't say which name is 'correct', as we 'scientists' are still considering the question.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman

Rudman, W.,B., 2001 (Mar 8). Comment on Berghia verrucicornis from France by Michel Barrabés. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Re: The identity of Berghia verrucicornis

March 5, 2001
From: Juan Lucas Cervera

Dear Bill,

Following on the message asking about its identity, I for many years, have not been convinced that the American animals identified as Berghia verrucicornis belong to the Mediterranean Berghia verrucicornis (this species was described from Mediterranan specimens), even if the internal anatomy is basically the same. However, I have no scientific arguments to support this feeling. It would be probably be necessary to have more detailed larval or biochemical studies of animals from both sides of the Atlantic.


Cervera, J.L., 2001 (Mar 5) Re: The identity of Berghia verrucicornis. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

A photo of Berghia verrucicornis

October 20, 1998
From: Erwin Koehler

Dear Bill,
there are photos at K.B. Clark's Site: and Luis Sánchez Tocino sent a photo to me for my Mediterranean Slug Site:
this one is attached - I'm sure, Luis will agree.

Erwin Koehler

Koehler, E., 1998 (Oct 20) A photo of Berghia verrucicornis. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Erwin for you rapid reply, and please thank Luis. .. Bill

Anyone got a photo of Berghia verrucicornis ?

October 19, 1998
From: Bill Rudman

The Berghia verrucicornis page looks a bit bare. Has anyone got a photo I could put on the page please?

Thanks .... Bill Rudman.