Embletonia pulchra

Embletonia pulchra (Alder et Hancock, 1844)

Embletonia pulchra by José Carlos García Gómez










































Embletonia pulchra  (Alder & Hancock, 1844)

 Classification according to Bouchet et al. (2017)
Taxonomic source: World Register of Marine Species (AphiaID: 141638).

  • Embletonia faurei Labbé, 1923
  • Pterochilus pulcher Alder & Hancock, 1844 (original)

This is a small sized nudibranch species that can reach 6-7 mm length. The body is basically coloured cream, semi-transparent, with the back and head region pigmented opaque white. The anterior margin of the head is bilobed, forming a kind of cephalic veil and without oral tentacles. The rhinophores are relatively short, share the same color of the body, and lack any lamellae. The eyes are located slightly behind the base of the rhinophores. There are only 6-7 cerata on each side of the body, the first of each side are well separated from the rest, often arranged quite to the end of the body, so that the last ones go beyond the end of the tail. The cerata are short and somewhat globose, with a wide apex in the center, marked by a small incision. The first two cerata of either side are positioned at the same level while the others are clearly interleaved. The cerata do not have cnidosacs at its end. The digestive gland is coloured greenish-brown or orange but it is not often seen due to the opaque white pigment of the skin surface of the animal. In depigmented specimens or animals that have not eaten for days, the digestive gland appears as a fine cord running along the back, mainly on the left side and with ramifications into each cerata. Inside of the cerata these gastrointestinal branching is also masked by the opaque white pigment on the surface, although it can be observed the cerata base and its ventral area, where the white pigment is not as dense. Ventrally, the mouth is in the center of the frontal cephalic veil and lacks any labial palps. The foot is narrow and rounded on the front side, and the tail is very short.

This is a species with very little biological data available. It has been cited living under stones, on floating buoys, on hydrozoans (Nemertesia, Hydrallmania) in amphioxus bottoms, sandy bottoms and mixed sand-gravel bottoms, from 0 to 60 m deep (Urgorri. 1981). Apparently it feeds on hydroids, but under laboratory conditions several specimens were capable of feeding on amfípods and solenogastre molluscs. The spawn is in a thin cord wound in a spiral of two turns and a half with two rows of eggs inside.


  • Embletonia in honor to Denis Embleton, a victorian anatomyst at the Newcastle University.
  • Pulchra, from Latin, means pretty, beautiful, handsome, fine

This species lives in European waters from Norway to the western Mediterranean and Black Sea. In the Iberian Peninsula it has been cited in the Galician coast, Portugal, the Straits of Gibraltar, the Levantine coast and Catalonia. In the Catalan coast it has been found in Es Caials, Cala Aiguafreda and Cova de La Vaca in the Medes islands.

Known georeferenced records of the species: Embletonia pulchra
: GROC 2010-2011
: Enric Madrenas
: João Pedro Silva
: Bernard Picton
: Manuel Ballesteros.
: M@re Nostrum
: Altres fonts
: Marine Regions

References for the species: Embletonia pulchra

    Galicia: Urgorri and Besteiro (1983, 1984). Portugal: Nobre (1938-40), García-Gómez et al. (1991), Malaquias and Morenito (2000), Calado et al. (1999, 2003). Gibraltar: García-Gómez et al. (1989). Levante: Templado, Talavera and Murillo (1987, as E. pulchra faurei), Marín and Ros (1987a, as E. pulcra faurei). Catalunya: Ballesteros (1980, 1985, citada como E. pulchra faurei).

    General: Alder & Hancock, 1851a:fam. 3, pl. 38[P]; Brown & Picton, 1979:29; Fez Sanchez, 1974:89; Forbes & Hanley, 1850-1851:607; Gomoiu, 1961:1249; Hayward, Wigham, & Yonow, 1990:720; Hoffmann, 1926:18; Hughes, 1991:428; Jeffreys, 1869:36; Loyning, 1927:254; Marcus & Marcus, 1958:92; McMillan, 1941b:17; 1968:70; Milachewitch, 1916:131; Nobre, 1931:30; 1936:21; 1938-40:70; Nordsieck, 1972:77; Odhner, 1939:75; Picton & Morrow, 1994:38[P]; Poizat, 1981:5; 1987a:304; 1990:[P]; 1991:[P]; Riedl, 1970:431; 1983:329; Starmuhlner, 1955:226; Thompson, 1988:308; Thompson & Brown, 1984:142[P]; Vayssiere, 1913a:284

    Sources: Cervera et al., 2004, Ballesteros, 2007 & 2016, McDonald, 2006 and other sources.

Similar species
Due to its physical traits it is not confused with any other species.


    Western Mediterranean:1 out of 5 stars
    Eastern Mediterranean:0 out of 5 stars
    Atlantic Ocean:2 out of 5 stars

This chart displays the monthly observation probability for Embletonia pulchra based on our own records.



More pictures


    Alder, J. 1869. Account of the British Nudibranchiata. Jeffrey’s British Conchology 5:18-94.
    Alder, J., and A. Hancock. 1844. Descriptions of Pterochilus, a new genus of nudibranchiate Mollusca, and two new species of Doris. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 14: 329-331.
    Alder, J., and A. Hancock. 1851. A monograph of the British nudibranchiate Mollusca: with figures of all the species. Ray Society, London.
    Alder, J., and A. Hancock. 1855. A monograph of the British nudibranchiate Mollusca: with figures of all the species. Ray Society, London.
    Arnaud, P. M., C. Poizat, and L. van Salvini Plawen. 1986. Marine interstitial Gastropoda (including one freshwater interstitial species) pp 153-173, In: Lazare Botosaneanu. Stygofauna  Mundi. A faunistic, distributional, and ecological synthesis of the world fauna inhabiting subterranean waters (including the marine interstitial). E. J. Brill.
    Baba, K. 1959. A new record of an interesting species, Embletonia gracile Risbec, from Japan (Nudibranchia - Eolidacea). Publications of the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory 7(3):335-336, pl 29.
    Baba, K., and I. Hamatani. 1963. Anatomy of Embletonia gracilis paucipapillata s sp from Osaka Bay, Japan (Nudibranchia - Eolidoidea). Publications of the Seto Marine Biological Laboratory 11(2):399-402, pl 17.
    Ballesteros, M. 1980. Contribución al conocimientos de los Sacoglosos y Nudibranquios (Mollusca: Opisthobranchia). Estudio anatómico, sistemático y faunístico de las especies del mediterráneo español. Tesis Doctoral.
    Ballesteros, M. 2007. Lista actualizada de los opistobranquios (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Opisthobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira. 2: 163–188.
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2021. OPK - Opistobranquis. (https://opistobranquis.info/).
    Ballesteros, M., E. Madrenas, and M. Pontes. 2016. Actualización del catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios (Gastropoda: Heterobranchia) de las costas catalanas. Spira 6(2016): 1-28.
    Ballesteros, M., M. Pontes, and E. Madrenas. 2019. Els nudibranquis del mar català. Brau, Figueres.
    Beaumont, W. I. 1900. Part II.–The benthos (dredging and shore collecting). VII.–Report on the results of dredging and shore- collecting; pp 754-798, In: The fauna and flora of Valencia Harbour on the west coast of Ireland. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, series 3, 5(3):667-854.
    Beaumont, W. I. 1900. XII–Report on the opisthobranchiate Mollusca; pp 832-854, In: The fauna and flora of Valencia Harbour on the west coast of Ireland. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, series 3, 5(3):667-854.
    Bedulli, D., R. Cattaneo-Vietti, R. Chemello, F. Ghisotti, and F. Giovine. 1995. Gastropoda Opisthobranchia, Divasibranchia, Gymnomorpha, Fascicolo 15, pp. 1-23.  In: A. Minelli, A. Ruffo, & S. La Posta (Eds.). Checklist delle specie fauna italiana, Checklist delle specie della Fauna Italiana. Calderini, Bologna.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1885. Beitrage zur Kenntniss der Aeolidiaden. VIII. Verhandlungen der koniglich-kaiserlich Zoologisch- botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien (Abhandlungen) 35(1):1-60, pls. 1- 7.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1878. Malacologische Untersuchungen, In: Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen von Dr Carl Gottfried Semper. Zweiter Theil. Wissenschaftliche Resultate. Band 2, Theil 2, Heft 14; pp 603-645, I-L, pls. 66-68.
    Bergh, L. S. R. 1890. Die cladohepatischen Nudibranchien. Zoologische Jahrbucher, Abtheilung fur Systematik Geographie und Biologie der Thiere 5:1-75.
    Bergh, R. 1892. System der Nudibranchiaten Gasteropoden. Malacologische Untersuchungen. In: Reisen im Archipel der Philippinen von Dr. Carl Gottfried Semper. Zweiter Theil#Wissenschaftliche Resultate. Band 7, Theil 5. [pp. 1–51, pls 1–4, Mar. 1897; pp. 53–115, pls 5–8, Dec. 1897; pp. 117–158, pls 9–12, Nov. 1898; pp. 159–208, pls 13–16, 27 Mar. 1900; pp. 209–256, pls 17–20, 29 Jan. 1901; pp. 257–312, pls. 21–24, 15 Oct. 1901; pp. 313–382, pls 25–29, 7 Oct. 1902].
    Birkett, D. A., C. A. Maggs, and M. J. Dring. 1998. Maerl (volume V). An overview of dynamic and  sensitivity characteristics for conservation management of marine SACs. Scottish Association for  Marine Science.
    Brown, G. H., and B. E. Picton. 1979. Nudibranchs of the British Isles — a colour guide. Underwater Conservation Society, Manchester, by R. Earll.
    Calado, G., M. Malaquias, C. Gavaia, J. L. Cervera, C. Megina, B. Dayrat, Y. Camacho, M. Pola, and C. Grance. 2003. New data on opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from the southwestern coast of Portugal. Boletín Instituto Español de Oceanografía 19 (1-4): 199-204.
    Calado, G., V. Urgorri, R. Gaspar, and F. J. Cristobo. 1999. Catálogo de los moluscos opistobranquios bentónicos de las costas de Setúbal-Espichel (Portugal). Nova Acta Científica Compostelana (Bioloxía) 9: 285-294.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R., and G. Barletta. 1984. Elenco preliminare dei molluschi opistobranchi viventi nel Mediterraneo (Sacoglossa, Pleurobranchomorpha, Acochlidiacea, Aplysiomorpha, Nudibranchia). Bollettino Malacologico (Pubblicazione Mensile Edita dalla Societa Italiana di Malacologia) 20(9-12):195-218.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R., and T. E. Thompson. 1989. Mediterranean opisthobranch molluscs: a zoogeographic approach. Bollettino Malacologico (Pubblicazione Mensile Edita dalla Societa Italiana di Malacologia) 25(5-8):183-204.
    Cattaneo-Vietti, R., R. Chemello, and R. Giannuzzi-Savelli. 1990. Atlante dei nudibranchi del Mediterraneo. La Conchiglia, Rome 264 pp, 14 pls. (104 clr. ill), line drawings.
    Cervera, J. L., J. Templado, J. C. García-Gómez, M. Ballesteros, J. Ortea, F. J. García, J. Ros, and A. A. Luque. 1988. Catálogo actualizado y comentado de los Opistobranquios (Mollusca, Gastropoda) de la Península Ibérica, Baleares y Canarias, con algunas referencias a Ceuta y la isla de Alborán. Iberus, supl. 1: 1-84.
    Cervera, J. L., G. Calado, C. Gavaia, M. A. E. Malaquías, J. Templado, M. Ballesteros, J. C. García-Gómez, and C. Megina. 2004. An annotated and updated checklist of the opisthobranchs (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from Spain and Portugal (including islands and archipelagos). Boletín Instituto Español de Oceanografía, 20 (1-4): 1-111. L.
    Cornet, R., and M. Marchad. 1951. Inventaire de la faune marine de Roscoff Mollusques. Travaux de la Station Biologique de Roscoff, Suppl 5:1-80.
    Dautzenberg, P., and P. H. Fischer. 1925. Les mollusques marins du Finistere et en particulier de la region de Roscoff. Travaux de la Station Biologique de Roscoff 3:1-180.
    De Fez, S. 1974. Ascoglosos y Nudibranquios de España y Portugal. CSIC. Valencia, Spain: 325 pp.
    Edmunds, M. 1991. Does warning coloration occur in nudibranchs. Malacologia 32(2):241-255.
    Eliot, C. N. E. 1910. A monograph of the British nudibranchiate Mollusca: with figures of the species; Figures by the late Joshua Alder and the late Albany Hancock, and others. Ray Society, London.
    Evertsen, J., and T. Bakken. 2013. Diversity of Norwegian sea slugs (Nudibranchia): new species to Norwegian coastal waters and new data on distribution of rare species. Fauna Norvegica 32: 45-52.
    Evertsen, J., and T. Bakken. 2005. Nudibranch diversity (Heterobranchia, Gastropoda) along the coast of Norway. Fauna Norvegica, 25: 1-37.
    Farran, G. P. 1904. The marine fauna of the west coast of Ireland. Part I. The nudibranchiate molluscs of Ballynakill and Bofin Harbours, Co. Galway. Report Sea & Inland Fisheries Ireland for 1901, pt. 2, append. 8:1-10, pls. 18-19.
    Fischer, P. 1867. Catalogue des nudibranches et céphalopodes des côtes océaniques de la France. Journal de Conchyliologie (3) 15 (1): 5-15 [gennaio 1867] 17 (1).
    Fischer, P. 1875. Catalogue des nudibranches et cephalopodes des cotes oceaniques de la France (1)–(3e supplement). Journal de Conchyliologie, series 3, 23:204-214.
    Flanders Marine Institute. 2018. Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase: Territorial Seas. Maritime Boundaries Geodatabase. (http://www.marineregions.org/).
    Forbes, E., and S. C. T. Hanley. 1850. A history of the British Mollusca, and their shells, vol III. Including the families of Gasteropoda from Neritidae to Elysiadae, x + 616 pp, pls. 80-120, 114A-114D, EE, GG, HH, JJ-LL, OO-PP, RR-VV,.
    Garcia, F. J., and H. Bertsch. 2009. Diversity and distribution of the Gastropoda Opisthobranchia from the Atlantic Ocean: A global biogeographic approach. Scientia Marina. 73: 153–160.
    García-Gómez, J. C. 2002. Paradigmas de una fauna insólita; Los moluscos opistobranquios del estrecho de Gibraltar (Serie Ciencias) 20: 397 pp. Instituto de Estudios Gibraltareños. Algeciras, Cádiz, Spain.
    García-Gómez, J. C., J. L. Cervera, F. J. García, J. A. Ortea, S. F. García-Martin, A. Medina, and L. P. Burnay. 1991. Resultados de la campaña internacional de biología marina “Algarve 88”: moluscos opistobranquios. Bollettino Malacologico 27 (5-9): 125-138.
    García-Gómez, J. C., J. L. Cervera, F. J. García, and C. M. López de la Cuadra. 1989. Resultados de la Campaña Internacional de Biología Marina “Ceuta-86”: Moluscos Opistobranquios. Bollettino Malacologico 25: 223-232.
    Garstang, W. 1894. Faunistic notes at Plymouth during 1893-4. With observations on the breeding seasons of marine animals, and on the periodic changes of the floating fauna. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K., new series, 3(3):210- 235.
    Gosliner, T. M. 1979. The systematics of the Aeolidiacea (Nudibranchia: Mollusca) of the Hawaiian Islands, with descriptions of two new species. Pacific Science 33(1): 37-77.
    Gosse, P. H. 1856. A manual of marine zoology for the British Isles, vol 2, 239 pp. London.
    Hayward, P. J., G. D. Wigham, and N. Yonow. 1990. Mollusca I: Polyplacophora, Scaphopoda, and Gastropoda; pp. 628-730, In: , The marine fauna of the British Isles and north-west Europe, volume 2, xvi + 996 pp. Oxford University Press.
    Hoffmann, H. 1926. I. Opisthobranchia, In: Die Tierwelt der Nord- und Ostsee, Lieferung III, Teil IX; pp 1- 52. Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Leipzig.
    Høisæter, T. 1986. An annotated check-list of marine molluscs of the Norwegian coast and adjacent waters. Sarsia 71(2):73-175.

    Bibliography based on the works by Steve Long, 2006. Bibliography of Opisthobranchia 1554-2000 and Gary McDonald, 2009. Bibliographia Nudibranchia, with later updates from other resources.

Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2021) "Embletonia pulchra" in OPK-Opistobranquis. Published: 30/08/2012. Accessed: 26/01/2021. Available at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/XbcIq)

To copy this cite click on the right button.