Dotted Sea-Slug – Peltodoris atromaculata

The Dotted Sea-Slug, also known as the Cow Snail or Leopard Snail, is a species in the family Discodorididae and thus belongs to the class of the Gastropoda. Sometimes they are also found under the scientific name Discodoris atromaculata which is invalid.

Dotted Sea-Slug - Peltodoris atromaculata Cow Snail Gastropoda diving canary islands atlantic ocean canaries species
Dotted Sea-Slug – Peltodoris atromaculata


Peltodoris atromaculata has a oval body with a white colouring and irregular brown to black spots. Larger patches are usually located more centrally on its body. At the back end it has a girdle, which it can hide inseide.

It reaches a maximum size of 10cm.

Habitat and Distribution

The Dotted Sea-Slug lives on rocky ground, down to a depth of 150m. They usually sit on sponges, preferring the Stony Sponge Petrosia ficiformis.

When diving in the Canaries you can only rarely observe it.

In addition, its distribution area spreads over the Mediterranean Sea.


Peltodoris atromaculata feeds exclusively on the sponge Petrosis ficiformis.

There is not much known about the life of the Cow Snail. Discodorididae, however, are generally hermaphroditic and fertilize each other with their penis. Their eggs are placed in strings. Numerous larvae develop from these strings. The larvae of the Dotted Sea-Slug live pelagic and nourish themselves from plankton until they turn into snails and become benthic.

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