Glaucus (gastropod)

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Blue Sea Slug - Glaucus atlanticus and Glaucus marginatus (the small one) (6779229197).jpg
Sea slugs Glaucus atlanticus and G. marginatus (the small one)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Gastropoda
(unranked): clade Heterobranchia

clade Euthyneura
clade Nudipleura
clade Nudibranchia
clade Dexiarchia
clade Cladobranchia
clade Aeolidida

Superfamily: Aeolidioidea
Family: Glaucidae
Genus: Glaucus
Forster, 1777
Type species
Glaucus atlanticus Forster, 1777

See text

  • Dadone Gistel, 1848 (unnecessary substitute name for Glaucus Forster, 1777)
  • Glaucilla Bergh, 1860

Glaucus is a genus of small sea slugs, aeolid nudibranchs, marine gastropod molluscs, the only genus in the family Glaucidae.[1]

Taxonomic history[edit]

The synapomorphies between Glaucus and Glaucilla have made the maintenance of both genera irrelevant. Therefore Glaucus is regarded as the only genus within the family Glaucidae.[2]

In 2014, a careful DNA and anatomical study of the genus unexpectedly revealed the presence of a species complex. Only one species was found in the Atlantic, but the name Glaucus marginatus was revealed to include four separate species. There are three species in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre System and another species in the South Pacific Subtropical Gyre System. Glaucus atlanticus also occurs throughout the Indo-Pacific as well as in the Atlantic Ocean. In the North Pacific are Glaucus marginatus, Glaucus thompsoni and Glaucus mcfarlanei, with Glaucus marginatus also occurring in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. Also in the South Pacific is Glaucus bennettae.[3][4]

Glaucus atlanticus has some genetic differences in different parts of its range but is considered to be a single species [5]


Species within the genus Glaucus include:

Species brought into synonymy


  1. ^ Bouchet, P.; Gofas, S. (2013). Glaucus Forster, 1777. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species on 2013-07-17
  2. ^ Valdés A. & Campillo O.A. (2004) Systematics of pelagic aeolid nudibranchs of the family Glaucidae (Mollusca, Gastropoda). Bulletin of Marine Science 75(3): 381–389
  3. ^ Churchill, C. K. C.; Valdés, Á; Ó Foighil, D. (2014). Molecular and morphological systematics of neustonic nudibranchs (Mollusca : Gastropoda : Glaucidae : Glaucus), with descriptions of three new cryptic species. Invertebrate Systematics. 28(2): 174-195.
  4. ^ Churchill, C.K., Alejandrino, A., Valdés, Á. & Ó Foighil, D. 2013. Parallel changes in genital morphology delineate cryptic diversification of planktonic nudibranchs. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 280:20131224.
  5. ^ Churchill, C.K., Valdés, Á. & Ó Foighil, D. 2014. Afro-Eurasia and the Americas present barriers to gene flow for the cosmopolitan neustonic nudibranch Glaucus atlanticus. Marine Biology, doi: