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Eubranchus virginalis

Species Profile

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Eubranchus virginalis

Author: (Baba, 1949)

Order: Nudibranchia  Family: Fionidae

Maximum Size: 40 mm

Sightings: Ambon, Indonesia


Eubranchus virginalis (Baba, 1949)

Eubranchus virginalis is one of the few Indo-Pacific Eubranchus to be currently described. It is estimated there are more than two dozen well-known putative species of Eubranchus awaiting description.

Amongst the Eubranchus it is a relatively large species reported to grow to 40 mm in length but mostly observed at less than 20 mm.

The body and cerata are translucent of a greenish-yellow tinge covered with numerous small black spots many of which are ocellated with a white ring and there is often a large white patch or disc located centrally on the dorsum. 

The orange digestive gland is visible within the cerata for over half their length. The cerata are thick and distinctly tuberculate, the tubercles being pointed and arranged as two to three rings on each ceras, each ring carrying 5-8 tubercles. This arrangement is not unlike that of Doto. Distally beyond the last ring the cerata immediately reduce in diameter to form a long tapered narrow and recurved extremity, the digestive gland within reducing to a narrow yellow tube with a terminal cnidosac. There is often some diffuse white pigment on these extremities. The cerata are arranged in approximately six oblique rows down each side with the largest of the cerata in each row located medially. 

The rhinophores are long and smooth with the oral tentacles shorter and both are spotted in a similar manner to the body and cerata. The anterior corners of the foot are notably tentacular. The tail is long narrow and tapering.

Eubranchus virginalis preys upon hydroid polyps and several may often be seen feeding together on the same stem. When feeding the cerata are often laid out horizontally over the hydroid.

Distribution is currently recorded as Japan, Philippines, Indonesia and PNG.

Originally described as Eubranchopsis virginalis Baba,1949. The genus Eubranchopsis was raised by Baba in 1949 but synonomised with Eubranchus by Baba in 1971.

It is the Eubranchopsis virginalis of Rudman, 2000.

It may be the Eubranchus virginalis of Coleman, 2008, Page 262, however the specimen in that image exhibits some variations in presentation.

David A. Mullins – February 2024

– Baba, K. (1949). Opisthobranchia of Sagami Bay. Iwanami Shoten: Tokyo.

– Baba, K. (1971). Supplementary note on the anatomy of Eubranchus virginalis (Baba, 1949) from Japan (Nudibranchia: Eolidoidea: Eubranchidae). Publications of the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory, 19(1): 39-42.

– Rudman, W. B., (April, 2000). Eubranchopsis virginalis Baba, 1949. [In] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from and associated messages.

– Debelius, H. & Kuiter, R. H. (2007). Nudibranchs of the World. Ikan.

– Coleman, N. (2008). Nudibranchs – Encyclopedia – Catalogue of Asia/Indo-Pacific Sea Slugs. Neville Coleman’s Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd.

– Gosliner, T. M., Valde ́s, A ́. & Behrens, D. W. (2018). Nudibranch & Sea Slug Identification – Indo-Pacific, 2nd Edition. New World Publications, Jacksonville, Florida, USA.

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