Nudibranch Safari species list

Thanks to the Nudibranch Safari, the house reef of Gulen Dive Resort is the most meticulously surveyed area in Norway. So far, a staggering 85 different nudibranch species have been found!

Posted on Mar 29, 2013 - updated Mar 14, 2018

The nudibranch diversity at the house reef of Gulen Dive Resort is simply astonishing. Thanks to all the keen-eyed participants on the Nudibranch Safari we have been able to identify a large number of species over the last few years.

Norway is home to ca. 115 nudibranch species, and we have found about three quarters of them - almost all species living in shallow water. The house reef at Gulen Dive Resort probably has the highest documented nudibranch species count anywhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

Among our contributions to science are the discovery of the species Gulenia orjani, Gulenia monicae and Fjordia chriskaugei, all of which were published in November 2017 along with a major revision of the familiy Flabellinidae.

Is this Gulenia monicae or Gulenia orjani? They are incredibly difficult to tell apart, but the DNA confirm that they are separate species.

About this list

The species list below is split into four groups or suborders for your convenience, even though newer taxonomy now divides them into just two groups. The species names are updated according to the latest info from WoRMS.

To keep the list as short as possible species not yet observed at the Nudibranch Safari have been left out. Entries with an 'O' instead of an 'X' means this species has been spotted at the Gulen Dive Resort house reef, but at another time than the Nudibranch Safari.

Please note that the identifications are often done on-the-spot and may not be 100% accurate. But we're getting quite good at this! More and more species have been confirmed using DNA barcoding and other methods and we feel confident publishing this list.

Dorid nudibranchs

The dorids are the largest group of nudibranchs worldwide, and more than a third of the Norwegian species belong here. They are generally characterized by having a gill plume towards the back of the animal.

The tiny Lophodoris danielsseni is considered to be one of the rarest dorids in Norwegian waters, but is abundant at the house reef of Gulen Dive Resort. To date we have found 24 species in this group.

Species name201020112012201320142015201620172018
Acanthodoris pilosaXX XXXXXX
Adalaria loveniXX X XXXX
Adalaria proxima X XXXX  
Aegires punctilucensXXXX XX  
Aldisa zetlandica    X   X
Ancula gibbosaXX XX   X
Cadlina laevisXXXXXXXXX
Diaphorodoris luteocinctaXXXXXXXXX
Doris pseudoargusXXXXXXXXX
Goniodoris castanea X      X
Goniodoris nodosaXX XXXXXX
Jorunna tomentosaXX XX  XX
Knoutsodonta depressa X   XXXX
Knoutsodonta oblonga X X     
Limacia clavigeraXXXXXXXXX
Lophodoris danielsseniXXXXXXXXX
Okenia aspersa       X 
Onchidoris muricataXXXXXXXXX
Onchidoris pusilla   X  X X
Onchidoris sparsa   X  X X
Palio dubia XXXX XX 
Palio nothusX  XX    
Polycera quadrilineataXXXXXXXXX

Dendronotid nudibranchs

The dendronotid nudibranchs are generally characterized by having numerous, bush-like or cone-shaped protrusions on their backs - which is their gills. We have found 18 different species in this group, but some of the Doto species still have us puzzled.

Dendronotus frondosus is one of the most common nudibranchs in Norway. It is very variable and in August 2017 Dendronotus europaeus was published as a new species to science.

Species name201020112012201320142015201620172018
Dendronotus europaeus     XX  
Dendronotus frondosusXXXXXXXXX
Dendronotus lacteus    X XX 
Doto cf. crassicornis X    X  
Doto cf. hydrallmaniae X       
Doto cf. lemchei X       
Doto coronataXX X XXXX
Doto cuspidata XX      
Doto dunnei X   XX  
Doto fragilis X XXXXXX
Doto hystrix X  XXX  
Doto maculata     X X 
Doto millbayana    X    
Doto tuberculata XX      
Embletonia pulchra      O  
Tritonia hombergii X  XX X 
Tritonia lineata X X  X  
Tritonia plebeia XXXXXXXX

Arminid nudibranchs

The arminids is a small but diverse group of nudibranchs. Traditionally, many of the more cryptic species which cannot be placed in any of the other groups have been placed here - and the group is under constant revision.

Considered to be very rare in Norway, Hero formosa still turns up regularly at the Nudibranch Safari. In 2013, we were able to find 15-20 of them on every dive.

Species name201020112012201320142015201620172018
Armina loveni         
Hero formosaXXXXXXXXX
Heterodoris robusta         
Janolus cristatus         
Janolus hyalinus   XXX   
Proctonotus mucroniferus         

Aeolid nudibranchs

The second largest group of nudibranch is the Aeolids, which are easily recognizable by the finger-like protrusions on their backs. They generally feed on hydroids, and are able to pass the stinging cells into a special chamber at the tip of the tentacles to where they are used for protection against predators. This incredible act is called kleptocnidae.

We have been doing extensive work on this group the last few years, which has resulted in the recent description of three new species for science. Still, there are more new species to be found!

Fjordia chriskaugei is one of the three new species described from the Nudibranch Safari. The discovery lead to a major revision of the Flabellinidae family.

Species name201020112012201320142015201620172018
Aeolidia filomenae   O     
Aeolidia papillosaXXXXXXXXX
Aeolidiella glauca   XXXXXX
Berghia norvegica XXXXX   
Borealea nobilisXXXXX    
Calma glaucoides      OO 
Carronella cf. pellucida    X   X
Carronella pellucida XXXXXX  
Catriona aurantia X XXXXXX
Coryphella cf. rufibranchialis    X X X
Coryphella verrucosaXXXXXXXXX
Cumanotus beaumonti     XX  
Cuthona nanaX  X     
Cuthona suecicaX        
Cuthonella concinna   X     
Diaphoreolis viridisXXXXXXXXX
Edmundsella pedataXXXXXXXXX
Eubranchus doriae   XXX X 
Eubranchus exiguusXXXXXXXXX
Eubranchus farraniXXXXXXXX 
Eubranchus pallidusXX XXXXXX
Eubranchus rupiumXO X XX  
Eubranchus tricolor    X   X
Eubranchus vittatusX      X 
Facelina auriculata X       
Facelina bostoniensisXXXXXXXXX
Favorinus blianusXXXXXXXXX
Favorinus branchialisXXXXX XXX
Fjordia browni XXXXXXXX
Fjordia chriskaugeiXXXXXXXXX
Fjordia lineataXXXXXXXXX
Gulenia borealisX XX     
Gulenia monicae     XX X
Gulenia orjaniXXXXXXXXX
Microchlamylla gracilisXX XXXXXX
Rubramoena amoena       X 
Rubramoena rubescensXX XXXXXX
Rubramoena sp.        X
Tergipes tergipesXX X XX X
Trinchesia caerulea       X 
Trinchesia foliataXXXXX    
Zelentia pustulata    X    

This very strange, cryptic Janolus species turned up in 2013. It is still unclear if it might be a juvenile Janolus hyalinus or an entirely new species unknown to science.


Here are some of the rare finds and new species identified at the Nudibranch Safari. As you can see, something new and exciting happens every year!

2010: Eubranchus rupium was recorded as a new species for Norway.

2011: Goniodoris castanea and Onchidoris oblonga were recorded as new species for Norway. Tritonia lineata was recorded for the first time in 140 years.

2012: Berghia norvegica was identified for the first time since 1939, and seen in situ by divers for the first time in history.

2013: A record number of 54 species were identified. Three new species were recorded in Norway for the first time - Onchidoris pusilla, Onchidoris sparsa and Eubranchus doria.

UPDATE 2013: In a paper by Kienberger, Carmona, Pola, Padula, Gosliner & Cervera (published June 13, 2016 - available here), the new species Aeolidia filomenae is described. Older images show that this speices was found in Gulen in 2013 - a new species for Norway!

2014: It was determined that a new Flabellina species has to be described. Three new species for Gulen were found - Eubranchus tricolor, Aldisa zetlandica and Doto millbayana.

UPDATE 2014: In a paper by Ekimova et al. (published March 24, 2015 - available here), it is confirmed that Dendronotus lacteus was collected at the Nudibranch Safari in 2014. Gulen is also the location for the neotype of Dendronotus frondosus.

2015: Two new Doto species never before recorded in Norwegian waters was identified - Doto maculata and Doto dunnei. We identified Cumanotus beaumonti and Janolus hyalinus for the first time on the Nudibranch Safari. Work on the Flabellina species is progressing and will likely result in the desciption of two new species.

2016: A new Dendronotus species was confirmed, and inconclusive work to identify the extremely rare Cuthona suecica was done. The Flabellina project continued and now looks to result in three (not two as previously thought) new species being described.

UPDATE 2016: At the Lembeh Gulen Critter Shootout in May, two species not previously recorded on the house reef at Gulen Dive Resort were found - Embletonia pulchra and Calma glaucoides. The latter has been confirmed by DNA.

2017: Three new species for Gulen was recorded - Trinchesia caerulea, Rubramoena amoena and Okenia aspersa. The two latter have previously only been recorded one or two times in Norway.

UPDATE 2017: In a paper published by Korshunova, Martynov, Bakken & Picton (available here) Dendronotus europaeus is established as a new species with type locality at Gulen Dive Resort. According to the Swedish species databank, the Cuthona suecica has also been identified, making our find from 2010 the first record for Norway and the first record ever since the original description in 1940 (also the first record in situ).

UPDATE 2017: In a recent paper published by Korshunova, Martynov, Bakken, Evertsen, Fletcher, Mudianta, Saito, Lundin, Schrödl & Picton (available here) several new genera (Fjordia, Gulenia, Edmundsella, Microchlamylla, Ziminella, Borealia and Carronella, among others) and species are described. Three of the new species have been found at the Nudibranch Safari, and have been named after the organizers: Fjordia chriskaugei, Gulenia orjani and Gulenia monicae. We are all extremely proud of this!

2018: Another good year with 45 different species found. Among this a Rubroamoena sp. which may be new to science. Eubranchus tricolor showed up for the second time, and we had three records of the rare Goniodoris castanea which has only been seen once in Gulen.


In total, we have found 85 different species at the Nudibranch Safari since the beginning. Five of these are marked cf, one is marked sp. This is only done when we are certain they are not any of the accepted species. We try to keep this to a minimum, but have accumulated a few over the years – just as we have been able to remove some later when new species have been confirmed. We have found 19 species new to Norway, four of which were new to science (see above under UPDATE 2017).

Nudibranch species pr. year405632555148534545
Running species count406161687579818485

The sea hare Aplysia punctata is found every year on the Nudibranch Safari.

In addition to the true nudibranchs we also regularly find several other ophisthobranch sea slugs such as Aplysia, Elysia, Akera, Colpodaspis, Lamellaria and Pleurobranchus.

These are not included in the list above, but if counted the number of opisthobranchs found at the Nudibranch Safari looks like this:

Opisthobranch species pr. year456137575552575150
Running species count456767748488919495

The list is under constant revision, and changes may occur at any time - even to the number of species found in previous years as more material is analyzed and collected. Please keep in mind that identifying nudibranchs is (unfortunately still) not an exact science...

Thank you to all the Nudibranchs Safari pariticipants and experts, which over the years have contributed to this list. Well done!

» Read more about the Nudibranch Safari

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