Dendrodoris fumata
(Rüppell and Leuckart, 1830)

Relevant Synonyms
Doris fumata Rüppell and Leuckart, 1830

Dendrodoris nigra (Stimpson, 1855) [Barash and Danin, 1986]

 drawing: Rüppell and Leuckart, 1830 (MNHN, Paris)    

Body dorso-ventrally flattened, soft and slimy, with is broad and smooth mantle, and thin and wavy mantle edge. Foot with strong transverse grooves on its anterior part, and often extending a little behind the mantle margin. Head extremely small, bearing a pore-like mouth. Rhinophores bulbous, lamellated, with thick stalks. Rhinophoral pockets with simple, thin, slightly elevated rims. Branchial plumes extended over the posterior part of the dorsum, their circle interrupted by the anal papilla. Each gill finely subdivided.

color : very variable, typically dull. Brodie et al. (1997) distinguished three color forms: grey, black and orange/red, that can also include variable levels of yellow, brown or pink. The original description corresponds to the grey form as well as to the Mediterranean specimens.

common size : 30-40 mm in lenght, max. 90 mm.

The closest Mediterranean species are Dendrodoris grandiflora (Rapp, 1827) and D. limbata (Cuvier, 1804). The former has an irregular color pattern of dark blotches over a greyish or brownish ground body color. The paler margin with many dark radial lines is characteristic of this species. D. limbata shows a variable background color, from yellowish to dark brown or black, typically with an orange line bordering the mantle. In contrast, D. fumata is characterized by having a red of black background color, often with a red line around the mantle margin.

Its biology and development have been studied by Gohar and Soliman (1967b) and Rose (1985, as D. nigra). Like most dendrodorids, it feeds on sponges. The egg mass is a convoluted ribbon of several whorls, embedding into the transparent gelatinous matrix of the ribbons. Typical planktotrophic veligers take about 10 days to hatch when incubated at 22-23°C.

habitat : one of the most common, shallow water, Indo-Pacific nudibranchs; found in calm areas of bays on rocky coasts, on back reefs and shallow tidal areas of rock and coral rubble.

1st Mediterranean record
Israel, 1986 [1980].

Worldwide: originally described from the Red Sea, one of the more common nudibranchs widespread throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific; also recorded from the Galapagos Islands, and on the Pacific coast of Mexico and Costa Rica (Valdés et al., 1996). Mediterranean: a single record in 1980 from the vicinity of Dor, Israel as Dendrodoris nigra (Barash and Danin, 1986).

Only one specimen found in the Mediterranean.

speculated reasons for success :

Possibly via the Suez Canal.



  • Barash A. and Danin Z., 1986. Further additions to the knowledge of Indo-Pacific mollusca in the Mediterranean Sea. Spixiana, 9(2): 117-141.
  • Brodie G.D., Willan R.C. and Collins J.D., 1997. Taxonomy and occurrence of Dendrodoris nigra and Dendrodoris fumata (Nudibranchia: Dendrodorididae) in the Indo-West Pacific region. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 63: 407-423.
  • Gohar H.A.F. and Soliman G.N., 1967b. The biology and development of Dendrodoris (= Doridopsis) fumata (Rüppell & Leuckart) (Gastropoda, Nudibranchia). Publications of the Marine Biological Station, Al-Ghadarqa, 14: 31-54.


  • Valdés A., Ortea J., Avila C. and Ballesteros M., 1996. Review of the genus Dendrodoris Ehrenberg, 1831 (Gastropoda, Nudibranchia). Journal of Molluscan Studies, 62: 1-31.


Last update : December 2003

©ciesm 2002