Chelidonura fulvipunctata
Baba, 1938

Relevant Synonyms
Chelidonura mediterranea Swennen, 1961


 photo: G. Gat    

Animal elongated, somewhat cylindrical, with an internal and membranous shell. Body divided into an anterior cephalic shield and a posterior visceral hump, partially covered with a posterior mantle shield. Cephalic shield with anterior edge broader and roughly bilobed. Eyes very close to the anterior border of the head and hardly visible through the dorsal surface. Mouth with a mound on each side, bearing sensory bristles. Foot expanded laterally into two symmetrical long parapodia, folding over and partially covering the back of the animal. Two tapering lobes extend from the posterior end of the mantle shield (the generic name Chelidonura mean dove-tail), the left one long and the right substantially reduced.

color : very typical pattern of yellow-orange spots on a velvet black or dark brown background with blue reflections. A distinctive W pattern of white pigment on the head and also a white or pale yellow crescent on the rounded posterior margin of the head shield are present.

common size : between 10 and 20 mm - the largest specimen known of this species (33 mm) was found in Malta (Sammut and Perrone, 1998) - with a shell about 4-6 mm.

The orange or golden yellow spots over a dark background, and the "w"-shaped whitish patch on the anterior portion of the head-shield clearly differentiate C. fulvipunctata from the sole autoctonous species of Chelidonura in the Mediterranean, C. italica Sordi, 1980. The latter is smaller and presents a more cryptic color pattern.

Unknown. Like other species of the genus, it probably feeds on polychaetes or flat worms and may become active during night in search of food.

habitat : according to Marshall and Willan (1999), it lives in sandy bottoms, generally where algal debris accumulate, from low intertidal (where commonest) to 20 m deep. Only a few specimens have been found in the Mediterranean, under stones at 3 m, and on rocky bottoms 12 m deep.

1st Mediterranean record
Turkey, 1961 [1959].

Worldwide: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific. Mediterranean: recorded first in 1959 from Selimiye harbour, Antalaya, Turkey, as Chelidonura mediterranea new species (Swennen, 1961); successive records from Israel (Mienis and Gat, 1987) and Malta (Perrone and Sammut, 1997).

Rare. Isolated specimens found in Israel, Turkey and Malta.

speculated reasons for success :

Possibly via the Suez Canal.



  • Gosliner T.M., 1980a. Systematics and phylogeny of the Aglagidae (Opisthobranchia: Mollusca). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 68: 325-360.
  • Mienis H.K. and Gat G., 1987. A record of the Indo-Pacific species Chelidonura fulvipunctata from the Mediterranean coast of Israel (Opisthobranchia, Aglajidae). Levantina, 67: 709-711.
  • Perrone A.S. and Sammut C., 1997. Opisthobranchia of the genus Chelidonura Adams, 1850 (Cephalaspidea) from the Isle of Malta. Basteria, 61: 61-70.


  • Swennen C., 1961. On a collection of opisthobranchia from Turkey. Zoologische Mededelingen Uitgegeven van Nutuurlijke te Leiden, 38: 41-75.


Last update : January 2005

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