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 we have been able to find a total of 73 different nudibranch species.

Posted on Mar 29, 2013 - updated Mar 29, 2017

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

Officially, Norway is home to almost a hundred nudibranch species. We have found approximately two-thirds of them - even more if you leave out the deep-water species!

The list is split into four groups or suborders for your convenience, even though newer taxonomy now divides them into just two groups. Please note that the identifications are mainly done on-the-spot and may not be 100% accurate.

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 22 species in this group.

Species name201020112012201320142015
Acanthodoris pilosa  (Abildgaard in Müller, 1789)XX XXX
Adalaria loveni  (Alder & Hancock, 1862)XX X X
Adalaria proxima  (Alder & Hancock, 1854) X XXX
Aegires punctilucens  (d'Orbigny, 1837)XXXX X
Aldisa zetlandica  (Alder & Hancock, 1854)    X 
Ancula gibbosa  (Risso, 1818)XX XX 
Cadlina laevis  (Linné, 1767)XXXXXX
Diaphorodoris luteocincta  (M. Sars, 1870)XXXXXX
Doris pseudoargus  (Rapp, 1827)XXXXXX
Goniodoris castanea  Alder & Hancock, 1845 X    
Goniodoris nodosa  (Montagu, 1808)XX XXX
Jorunna tomentosa  (Cuvier, 1804)XX XX 
Limacia clavigera  (O. F. Müller, 1776)XXXXXX
Lophodoris danielsseni  (Friele & Hansen, 1876)XXXXXX
Onchidoris depressa  (Alder & Hancock, 1842) X   X
Onchidoris muricata  (O. F. Müller, 1776)XXXXXX
Onchidoris oblonga  (Alder & Hancock, 1845) X X  
Onchidoris pusilla  (Alder & Hancock, 1845)   X  
Onchidoris sparsa  (Alder & Hancock, 1846)   X  
Palio dubia  (M. Sars, 1829) XXXX 
Palio nothus  (Johnston, 1838)X  XX 
Polycera quadrilineata  (O. F. Müller, 1776)XXXXXX

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 13 different species in this group, but there is still uncertainty surrounding some of the Doto species.

The Dendronotus frondosus is one of the most common nudibranchs in this group in Norway - but it turns up in several different variations which may prove to be separate species.

Species name201020112012201320142015
Dendronotus frondosus  (Ascanius, 1770)XXXXXX
Dendronotus lacteus  (Thompson, 1840)    X 
Doto cf. hydrallmaniae   X    
Doto cf. hystrix   X  XX
Doto cf. lemchei   X    
Doto coronata  (Gmelin, 1791)XX X X
Doto cuspidata  Alder & Hancock, 1862 XX   
Doto dunnei  Lemche, 1976 X   X
Doto fragilis  (Forbes, 1838) X XXX
Doto maculata  Montagu, 1976     X
Doto millbayana  Lemche, 1976    X 
Doto tuberculata  Lemche, 1976 XX   
Tritonia hombergi  Cuvier, 1803 X  XX
Tritonia lineata  Alder & Hancock, 1848 X X  
Tritonia plebeia  Johnston, 1828 XXXXX

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 name201020112012201320142015
Hero formosa  (Lovén, 1844)XXXXXX
Janolus hyalinus  (Alder & Hancock, 1854)   XXX

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 act as protection against predators.

This group is quite diverse and contains some cryptic species, for instance in the Eubranchus family. DNA barcoding suggests that a common species like Flabellina lineata may in fact be two or even three different species, and work is in progress to describe them.

One of the easiest species to identify - Flabellina pedata is the only purple nudibranch in Norwegian waters.

Species name201020112012201320142015
Aeolidia papillosa  (Linné, 1761)XXXXXX
Aeolidiella glauca  (Alder & Hancock, 1845)   XXX
Berghia norvegica  Odhner, 1939  XXXX
Cumanotus beaumonti  (Eliot, 1906)     X
Cuthona concinna  (Alder & Hancock, 1843)   X  
Cuthona foliata  (Forbes & Goodsir, 1839)  XXX 
Cuthona gymnota  (Couthouy, 1838) X XXX
Cuthona nana  (Alder & Hancock, 1842)X  X  
Cuthona pustulata  (Alder & Hancock, 1854)    X 
Cuthona rubescens  Picton & Brown, 1978XX XXX
Cuthona viridis  (Forbes, 1840)XXXXXX
Eubranchus cf. vittatus   X    
Eubranchus doriae  (Trinchese, 1874)   XXX
Eubranchus exiguus  (Alder & Hancock, 1848)XXXXXX
Eubranchus farrani  (Alder & Hancock, 1844)XXXXXX
Eubranchus pallidus  (Alder & Hancock, 1842)XX XXX
Eubranchus rupium  (Møller, 1842)X  X X
Eubranchus tricolor  Forbes, 1838    X 
Facelina auriculata  (Müller, 1776) X    
Facelina bostoniensis  (Couthouy, 1838)XXXXXX
Favorinus blianus  Lemche & Thompson, 1974XXXXXX
Favorinus branchialis  (Rathke, 1806)XXXXX 
Flabellina borealis  (Odhner, 1922)X XX  
Flabellina browni  Picton, 1980 XXXXX
Flabellina cf. lineata sp. 1  XXXXXX
Flabellina cf. lineata sp. 2  XXXXXX
Flabellina cf. rufibranchialis      X 
Flabellina gracilis  (Alder & Hancock, 1844)XX XXX
Flabellina lineata  (Lovén, 1846)XXXXXX
Flabellina nobilis  A. E. Verrill, 1880XXXXX 
Flabellina pedata  (Montagu, 1815)XXXXXX
Flabellina pellucida  (Alder & Hancock, 1843) XXXXX
Flabellina verrucosa  (M. Sars, 1829)XXXXXX
Tergipes tergipes  (Forskål in Niebuhr, 1775)XX X 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.

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.

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.

UPDATE 2015: 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.

2016: A new Dendronotus species was confirmed, and inconclusive work to identify the extremely rare Cuthona suecica was done. The Flabellina project continued and will result in three new species being described.

2017: Three new species for Gulen was recorded - Cuthona caerulea, Rubramoena amoena and Okenia aspersa. The two latter have previously only been recorded 1-2 times in Norway.


In total, we have found a staggering 82 species at the Nudibranch Safari since the beginning. Eight of these are marked cf, which is only done when we are certain they are not the regular species (which is then not checked on the list). We try to keep the cf's to a minimum, but over the years we have inevitably accumulated a few.

Overall, we have been able to identify 12 species new to Norway at the Nudibranch Safari - four of them new to science (they are currently being described).

Total nudibranch species pr. year375332545046XXXX
Running nudibranch species count375759657173XXXX

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:

Total opisthobranch species pr. year395736555450XXXX
Running opisthobranch species count396163697981XXXX

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) 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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