Runcina spp.
(from Malta)

Superfamily: RUNCINOIDEA
Family: Runcinidae

Temporary page, until we sort out the identifications of the species featured below.

See Constantine Mifsud's message and Lucas Cervera's reply.

Related messages

Re: Runcina from Malta

August 28, 1999
From: Constantine Mifsud

Thank you all to responding to my query on the Maltese Runcinids. Unfortunately The Jour. of Moll, Stud. do not have any back issues and can only send a b/w photocopy of the work by Cervera et al.

Is it possible that anyone can e-mail me a digital copy of the colour plate from this work?

Constantine Mifsud

Mifsud, C., 1999 (Aug 28) Re: Runcina from Malta. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Constantine,
I've sent you a scan of the Plate by email. Obviously for copyright reasons I can't post it on the site.
If you have any other photos of Maltese opisthobranchs they would be of interest.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Runcina from Malta

August 22, 1999
From: Juan Lucas Cervera

Hi Bill!

First of all, I have to tell that identifying Runcina species, usually, it is necessary to check the gizzard plates, jaws, radula and the penial bulb (principally the radula). Only the coloration is not definitive.
Nevertheless, in this case I'm in agreement that Runcina sp. 3 seems to be R. adriatica.

For me, Runcina sp. 1. could be R. coronata (Quatrefages, 1844) and Runcina sp. 2 seems very much to R. ornata (Quatrefages, 1844).

I suggest to Constantine to check the following reference, which includes a colour plate of 6 Runcina species:

Cervera, J.L., Garcia-Gomez, J.C. & Garcia, F.J. (1981) The genus Runcina Forbes & Hanley, 1851 (Opisthobranchia: Cephalaspidea) in the Strait of Gibraltar, with the description of a new species from the Bay of Algeciras. Journal of Molluscan Studies 57: 199-208 (T.E. Thompson Memorial Issue).

I hope this can be useful.


Cervera, J.L., 1999 (Aug 22) Runcina from Malta. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Thanks Lucas,
My first publication was on runcinids from New Zealand, so they are of special interest to me. I also remember the difficulty in using the literature on European species where misidentifcations were obviously occurring 100 years ago. It was also the first time I experienced the old-style museum curator, fiercely protective of his collections. The common intertidal runcinid in New Zealand was mistakenly identified as Runcinella zelandica Odhner because that species was the only one known from New Zealand. However its internal anatomy was quite different from that published by Odhner so I wrote to the great Henning Lemche to borrow Odhner's type material to re-examine its anatomy. Lemche replied, after two reminders, quoting an old Scandinavian proverb about fish in the sea, which basically said that they only had 2 specimens and I had an ocean full of them, so go and get my own! Finally he did agree to send the types but preferred that I did not dissect them. It was some years later that Richard Willan actually reported the rediscovery of actual specimens of Odhner's Runcinella zelandica.

Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Species of Runcina from Malta

August 21, 1999
From: Constantine Mifsud

Mr. Rudman,

The European species of Runcina are very problematic. There are also some problems with the type species R. coronata according to Gosliner. I am posting these photos of two or possibly three species in the hope that someone can identify any of them.

The specimens are small, 2-3mm. and were found in tide pools (0.25m) on algae at the Maltese islands a couple of weeks ago.

Constantine Mifsud
4, Shepherds' Str.,
Rabat RBT 02,

Mifsud, C., 1999 (Aug 21) Species of Runcina from Malta. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Constantine,
I claim ignorance of European runcinids. Your sp.3 looks like Runcina adriatica Thompson, 1980, but I understand that not everyone agrees with Thompson's ideas on Mediterranean runcinids.
There are some later papers describing species of runcinids from the Straits of Gibraltar and Angola but it would be better for someone with firsthand experience of these animals to comment.

Anyone got any ideas on these animals, or photos of European runcinids?

Bill Rudman.

Thompson, T.E. (1980) New species of the bullomorph genus Runcina from the northern Adriatic Sea. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 46: 154-157.

Thompson, T.E. & Brodie, G. (1988) Eastern Mediterranean Opisthobranchia: Runcinidae, with a review of runcinid classification and a description of a new species from Fiji. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 54: 339-346.

Rudman, W.B., 1999 (Aug 21). Comment on Species of Runcina from Malta by Constantine Mifsud. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from