Doris odhneri (MacFarland, 1966)

White-knight Nudibranch, white knight dorid, snow white dorid, white night doris


  Archidoris odhneri, Austrodoris odhneri

Phylum Mollusca
 Class Gastropoda
  Subclass Opisthobrachia
     Superfamily Eudoridoidea 
      Family Archidorididae
Doris odhneri found at Cape Flattery, WA
(Photo by: Robbie Wheeling, July, 2002)

Description: Body usually 60 to 90mm long, but can be up to 200 mm. Usually pure white, sometimes is slight cadmium yellow.  It has low tubercles. Rhinophores are large, retractile, have 25 leaves, and are conical (photo).  Has seven gills (photo).  Dorsum is arched

How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Doris montereyensis is more yellow and has dark spots on the dorsum.  Aldisa tara is usually smaller than 3 cm long, has a flat rather than an arched dorsum, and has a ring of tubercles around the pits from which the rhinophores emerge.

Geographical Range: Kenai Peninsula, Alaska to San Diego, CA

Depth Range: Low intertidal, to subtidal 25 m.

Habitat: More common in subtidal rocky areas.  Rare in low intertidal zones.

Biology/Natural History:  Feeds on several sponges, among them Halichondria panicea and representatives of the genera Myxilla, Mycale, Stylissa, Tedania, Craniella, and Syringella.  Eaten by the rose star Crossaster papposus.  Eggs are deposited in areas of high current.  Eggs are laid in large masses of thin, wide ribbons.  Egg ribbons may be found year-round in Washington state.  The ribbons form oval spirals with a fluted edge and are attached by one edge to the substrate.  Each capsule in the ribbon usually contains 8 to 12 eggs.  Named after biologist Nils Hjalmar Odhner.
Recent evidence (Chu and Leys 2012) also shows that this nudibranch feeds on deep-living glass sponges such as Aphrocallistes vastus and Heterochone calyx, as well as the demosponge Desmacella austini that encrusts them.  These are all found in deep sponge reefs (>200 m depth) off the west coast of Canada.  This is the first documented instance of animals feeding on glass sponges outside of Antarctic waters.

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Dichotomous Keys:

  Carlton, 2007
  Kozloff (1987, 1996) (as Archidoris odhneri)
General References:
  Behrens, 1991 (as Archidoris odhneri)
  Harbo, 1999 (as Archidoris odhneri)
  Lamb and Hanby, 2005
  O'Clair and O'Clair (1998) (as Archidoris odhneri)
  Morris et al., (1980) (as Archidoris odhneri)

Scientific Articles:

Chu, Jackson W.F. and Sally P. Leys, 2012.  The dorid nudibranchs Peltodoris lentiginosa and Archidoris odhneri as predators of glass sponges.  Invertebrate Biology 131:2 pp. 75-81


Here is another photo of the species.  Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2005

The gills are white, and retractible.  Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2005

The rhinophores are white and perfoliate.  Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2005

Authors and Editors of Page:
Robbie Wheeling (2002):  Created original page
Edited by Hans Helmstetler 1-2003
Edited by Dave Cowles 1-2005