, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 31–36

Chemical studies on Indopacific Ceratosoma nudibranchs illuminate the protective role of their dorsal horn

Research papers

DOI: 10.1007/s00049-005-0289-5

Cite this article as:
Mollo, E., Gavagnin, M., Carbone, M. et al. Chemoecology (2005) 15: 31. doi:10.1007/s00049-005-0289-5


Two Ceratosoma species, C. trilobatum and C. gracillimum (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Opistobranchia), collected along the South China Sea coast, have been studied in order to investigate their defensive strategies. Both species contain four typical sponge furanosesquiterpenoids, probably with a dietary origin. The tissue distribution of these compounds has been studied by 1H-NMR analysis and preliminary bioassays have been carried out in order to evaluate the ecological role of the isolated metabolites. The main sesquiterpene component in both species was (–)-furodysinin (2), which showed significant feeding-deterrent and ichthyotoxic properties in bioassays with freshwater organisms. The work has been performed studying a very limited number of molluscs that prevented the realization of ecologically relevant experiments. However, the almost exclusive presence of compound 2 in the crude extract of the mantle glands concentrated in the dorsal horn of C. gracillimum strongly supports the defensive role of that dorsal protuberance, which probably acts as a defensive lure attracting potential predators to the part of the animal that contains the distasteful chemicals.

Key words.

OpisthobranchiaChromodorididaeCeratosomasesquiterpenoidschemical defencesecondary metabolites

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto di Chimica BiomolecolareCNRPozzuoli (Na)Italy
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai, Institutes for Biological SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina