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the web of life in southern Africa

Mandelia mirocornata

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Lophotrochozoa > Mollusca > Gastropoda > Opisthobranchia > Nudibranchia > Family: Mandeliidae

Mandelia mirocornata (Mandeliidae), named after Nelson Mandela. [photo kindly supplied by Ángel Valdés and Terry Gosliner, California Academy of Sciences - copyright]

It is regarded as something of an honour to have a species of organism named after you. To have a genus named after you is even more of an honour because new genera are less often named than new species. However, an even greater honour is to have a family named after you because new families are rarely created.  Valdés & Gosliner (1999) honoured Nelson Mandela by naming a genus and family of seaslug (Mollusca: Nudibranchia) after him. In their words: 

"This South African genus is named Mandelia to honor Nelson Mandela, who led the struggle for a multiracial government in South Africa. The specific name is derived from the Latin mirus (odd) and cornus (horn) in reference to the peculiar shape of the rhinophores of this species."

Mandelia mirocornata has only been recorded along the coast line of the Cape Peninsula.


  • Valdés, A. & Gosliner, T.M. 1999. Phylogeny of the radula-less dorids (Mollusca, Nudibranchia), with the description of a new genus and a new family. Zoologica Scripta 28: 315-360.

 Text by Hamish Robertson