Coryphella rufibranchialis (Johnston, 1832)

Coryphella rufibranchialis

Description: Currently considered to be a form of Coryphella verrucosa. The body is translucent white in colour with opaque white pigment on the tips of the oral tentacles and in a broken line along the centre of the back which becomes continuous on the long tail. The cerata are numerous and arranged in clusters along the sides and back of the body, almost hiding the white centreline. They are filled with red or orange-red granular digestive gland. The cerata have a thin, sometimes incomplete, ring of white pigment below the tip. Typically about 15mm-25mm in length, but well-fed individuals may be larger.

Habitat: A common species in early spring at shallow exposed sites and deeper water which is exposed to tidal streams. The normal food is the hydroid Tubularia indivisa but other smaller hydroids are eaten by juvenile specimens. The spawn consists of a thread which is laid in a smooth spiral like a clock spring.

Distribution: A northern species in the British Isles, occurring round Scotland and in the Irish Sea south to the Isle of Man, but apparently absent from the western coasts of Ireland and England. Further distribution includes Norway to the Atlantic coast of America.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map: NBN map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

WoRMS: Species record : World Register of Marine Species.

iNaturalist: Species account : iNaturalist World Species Observations database

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2016). Coryphella rufibranchialis (Johnston, 1832). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Accessed on 2024-07-20

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