Trapania hispalensis
Cervera & Garcia-Gomez, 1989

Suborder: DORIDINA
Family: Goniodorididae


Known from few records from Ceuta, Nth Africa, to Faro, Portugal. Reported to be quite common in Straits of Gibraltar (Ocaña Martin et al, 2000) 


Faro, Portugal. Depth: 15 m. 06 May 2005. Photographer: David Abecasis

Note added 20 Sept 2007: This species and T. tartanella are very difficult to distinguish externally and it is possible some identifications on the Forum are incorrect. See message #20698.

The shape of the animal is typical for the genus, especially characterised by the two pairs of recurved tapering lateral papillae, one alongside the rhinophores and the other just behind the gills. The body is translucent white with yellow rhinophore clubs and at least the upper half of the lateral papillae and oral tentacles being coloured yellow. The whitish gills are edged in yellow as is the posterior tip of the body/foot.

For a long time people thought species of Trapania must feed on sponges, because they were often found, like this species, on particular sponges with their heads down looking like they were feeding. However if you look carefully at the sponges you will find dense clusters of microscopic stalked animals called entoprocts or kamptozoans, which are what species of Trapania really eat. In the lower photo I have ringed a couple of areas with many kamptozoans. It grows to at least 14 mm in length.

  • Cervera, J.L. & Garcia-Gomez, J.C. (1989) Dos nuevas especies de Trapania Pruvot-Fol, 1931 (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia) del sur de Espana. Boll. Malacol., 24(9-12): 189-204.
  • Ocana Martin, A., Sanchez Tocino, L., Lopez Gonzalez, S. & Viciana Martin, J.E. (2000) Guía Submarina de Invertebrados No Artrópodos. 2nd Ed.
Authorship details
Rudman, W.B., 2005 (September 8) Trapania hispalensis Cervera & Garcia-Gomez, 1989 . [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Related messages

  1. Trapania hispalensis from Portugal - feeding
    From: David Abecasis, September 8, 2005

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