Tenellia adspersa

(Nordmann, 1845)

This inconspicuous aeolidacean rarely exceeds 8 mm in length. The body is dull yellow or white in colour (occasionally mid-brown) with a varying pattern of blotches of dark brown or black speckles. The tentacles are colourless but the cerata are pale yellow to orange, with pale orange-pink hepatic contents. These cerata are arranged in up to six rows, each of up to three (rarely four) cerata on either side of the body. The head is domed and spatulate, with lateral lobes which are sometimes produced into short lateral oral tentacles.

T. adspersa is a euryhaline species, feeding upon various hydroids, such as Laomedea longissima , L. loveni , Cordylophora lacustris and the itinerant Protohydra leuckarti . It lives in shallow waters, sometimes in the intertidal zone, often in harbours, estuaries and canals.

There are few authenticated records of Tenellia from the North Sea. Further, it has a cosmopolitan global distribution, from Japan and Brazil to many eastern US and European shores (Distr. T. adspersa).