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Species Guide » 14. Molluscs - Heterobranchs » Antiopella cristata ca / es

Scientific name: Antiopella cristata

(delle Chiaje, 1841)

Common Name:

Group: 14. Molluscs - Heterobranchs

Area type: Deep dive

Depth: Down to 40m

Measures: Up to 7-8 cm

How does it look like?

It has a translucent light brown body with two white lines running the length of its body. The convex cerata are sufficiently translucent light blue to show a brown cord (part of the digestive tract). The rhinophores (the horn-shaped sensory organs on the head) are striated and brown with a white tip. They can achieve a length of 7 to 8 centimeters.

 

Where does it live?

It lives on shady rocky bottoms and it has a predilection for areas with a little hydrodynamism. It is an uncommon species although it can be seen from 6-7 meters down to 40 meters approximately. It has been found from Norway to Morocco and also in the western part of the Mediterranean.

 

How does it feed?

It feeds on bryozoans such as Bugula and Cellaria. Bryozoans are a type of normally hard colonial invertebrates. Therefore, this nudibranch has a radula with many teeth with which it gnaws the food.

 

How does it reproduce?

This species, as almost all seaslugs, is hermaphroditic (it has both sexes in the same individual) but it cannot self-fertilize. To reproduce, it needs to meet another individual to exchange their sperms.

 

Is a confusion possible?

Although there are different species of this genus, they are all quite easy to differentiate because they all have very distinctive characteristics.

 

Curiosities

· Until 2019 the accepted name was Janolus cristatus, but a scientific work has determined the new denomination. Other synonyms that are no longer valid are Janus cristatus or Eolis cristata.

· Antiopella refers to Antiope, one of the daughters of the Greek wind god Aeolus. Cristata refers to the fact that it has a crest (due to the shape and arrangement of the cerata) according to the marine biologist Bernard Picton.

· Unlike most nudibranchs, the cerata of this species do not have cnidosacs, so they are not stinging.

 

Taxonomy

Class: Gastropoda, Order: Nudibranchia, Superfamily: Proctonotoidea, Family: Janolidae, Genus: Antiopella

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