Family: Rhodopidae




Rhodope veranii. Near Rovinj ?(introduced into aquarium). Croatia. Adriatic Sea. Length: 6 mm. [Probably in 1985] between green algae, probably shallow subtidal. Photographer: Maria Mizzarro-Wimmer (Univ. Vienna)

The family Rhodopidae are one of the few molluscan groups for which we have no clear idea of their phylogenetic relationships. In fact until the 1960s there was still much debate as to whether they were gastropod molluscs or turbellarian flatworms (Riedel, 1959, 1960). At present they are considered to be either doridoidean nudibranchs or early opisthobranchs.

They are small worm-like animals which lack any well-defined external stuctures, such as a head, foot or tentacles, or internal organs, such as a radula or jaws, or a heart. There are spicules in the skin and a ventral pedal gland on the posterior tip of the foot. The 'head' and posterior end of the body can retract slightly into the middle part of the body. They can grow to about 10 mm in length but are seldom more than 5 mm, and live interstitially in soft sediment or on plant life.  Most work has been done on the Mediterranean species, Rhodope veranii, but other species have been reported from other parts of the world, including Guam, southern Australia, Ceylon, Brazil and the northeast Atlantic.

  • Arnaud, P. M., Poizat, C., and Salvini-Plawen, L. v. (1986). Marine interstitial Gastropoda (including one freshwater interstitial species) . [In] Stygofauna Mundi. A faunistic, distributional, and ecological synthesis of the world fauna inhabiting subterranean waters (including the marine interstitial). (Ed L. Botosaneanu.) pp. 153-173.  (E. J. Brill.: Leiden.)
  • Bergh, L. S. R. (1882) Uber die Gattung Rhodope. Zoologischer Anzeiger, 5: 550-554.
  • Bohmig, l. (1893) Zur feineren Anatomie von Rhodope veranii Kolliker. Zeitschrift fur Wissenschaftliche Zoologie, 56: 40-116, pls. 3-6.
  • Burn, R. F. (1998) Order Rhodopemorpha. [In] Mollusca: The Southern Synthesis. Fauna of Australia. Vol. 5B. (Eds P. L. Beesley, G. J. B. Ross, and A. Wells.) pp. 960-961. (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.)
  • Graff, L. v. (1882) Uber Rhodope veranii Kolliker (=Sidonia elegans M. Schultze). Morphologisches Jahrbuch, 8: 73-84, pl. 2.
  • Haszprunar, G. (1997) Ultrastructure of the pseudo-protonephridium of the enigmatic opisthobranch, Rhodope transtrosa (Gastropoda, Nudibranchia). Journal of Submicroscopic Cytology & Pathology, 29: 371-378.
  • Haszprunar, G. and Hess, M. (2005) A new Rhodope from the Roscoff area (Bretagne), with a review of Rhodope species (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia?). Spixiana, 28: 193-197.
  • Haszprunar, G. and Huber, G. (1990) On the central nervous system of Smeagolidae and Rhodopidae, two families questionably allied with the Gymnomorpha (Gastropoda: Euthyneura). Journal of Zoology, 220: 185-199.
  • Haszprunar, G. and Kuenz, E. (1996) Ultrastructure and systematic significance of the epidermis and haemocoel of Rhodope (Gastropoda, Nudibranchia, Doridoidea?). Journal of Submicroscopic Cytology & Pathology, 28: 485-497.
  • Karling, T. G. (1966) Rhodope veranyi (Gastropoda, Euthyneura) von der norwegischen Kuste. Sarsia, 24: 33-35.
  • Kolliker, A. (1847) Rhodope nuovo genere di gasteropodi. Giornale dell I. R. Istituto Lombardo di Scienze, lettere ed Arti e Biblioteca Italiana, 16: 239-249, 1 pl.
  • Marcus, Ev. and Marcus, E. (1952)  The nudibranch Rhodope from South America. Comunicaciones Zoologicas del Museo de Historia Natural de Montevideo, 4: 1-8, pl. 1.
  • Oberzeller, E. (1969) Die Verwarstschaftbeziehungen der Rhodope veranii Kolliker zu den Oncidiidae, Vaginulidae und Rathouisiidae in bezug auf das Nervensystem. Malacologia, 9: 282-283.
  • Riedel, R. (1959) Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Rhodope veranii, Teil I. Geschichte und Biologie.  Zoologischer Anzeiger, 163: 107-122.
  • Reidel, R. (1960) Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Rhodope veranii. 2. Entwicklung . Zeitschrift fur Wissenschaftliche Zoologie, 163: 237-316.
  • Salvini-Plawen, L. v. (1970)  Zur systematischen Stellung von Soleolifera und Rhodope (Gastropoda, Euthyneura).  97(2). Zoologische Jahrbucher, 97: 285-299.
  • Trinchese, S. (1887)  Nuove osservazioni sulla Rhodope veranii (Kolliker). Rendiconto dell' Accademia delle Scienze Fisiche e Mathematiche, Sezione della Societa Reale di Napoli, series 2,  1: 131-137.
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2005 (November 19) Rhodopemorpha. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/factsheet/rhodopemorpha