How does it look like?
It is an elongated mollusc without a shell, belonging to the order of the Nudibranchs. Maximum length of 12 milimeter, usually less than 10mm. Semi-transparent body, creamy white, with dark reddish or brown spots, almost black. The head has two relatively long rhinophores (olfactory organs) with white granulations, which are also present on the widened upper edge of the rhinophoric sheaths and on the frontal veil. It has 5 long pairs of cerata, very distinctive, arranged in two rows along the mantle. These cerata are pink, cream or yellow-orange on their inner side, with a black base and white tubercles outside. The foot is narrow and semi-transparent.
Where does it live?
It lives throughout the Mediterranean Sea, although it has occasionally been found also on some Atlantic coasts. It inhabits rocky walls with algae and hydrozoa, as well as the leaves of Posidonia oceanica.
What does it eat?
It feeds on hydrozoa, so its distribution is closely linked to the existence of their colonies.
How does it reproduce?
It is hermaphrodite, with cross mating in which both individuals donate and receive sperm. The shape of the spawn is a taxonomic character that serves to identify the species: the eggs are white-coloured and are grouped in the form of an elongated cord or narrow ribbon.
Is there any confusion possible?
Yes, it can be easily confused with other species from the genus Doto.
· The reproductive organs are located on the right side of the body, so they copulate attached by the side looking in a different direction.
· They can hide the rhinophores inside the sheaths.
Phylum: Mollusca, Class: Gastropoda, Subclass: Heterobranquia, Order: Nudibranchia, Suborder: Dendronotina, Family: Dotoidae, Genus: Doto