Embletonia pulchra

Embletonia pulchra (Alder et Hancock, 1844)

Embletoria pulchra by José Carlos García Gómez

Class: Gastropoda  Cuvier, 1797
Subclass: Heterobranchia  J.E. Gray, 1840
Clade: Euthyneura  Spengel, 1881
Clade: Nudipleura  Wägele & Willan, 2000
Order: Nudibranchia  Cuvier, 1817
Suborder: Dexiarchia  Schrödl, Wägele & Willan, 2001
Infraorder: Cladobranchia Willan and Morton, 1984
Parvorder: [unassigned] Cladobranchia Willan & Morton, 1984
Family: Embletoniidae Pruvot-Fol, 1954
Genus: Embletonia Alder & Hancock, 1851
Species: Embletonia pulchra (Alder et Hancock, 1844)


  • 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.


    Western Mediterranean:
    Eastern Mediterranean:
    Atlantic Ocean:



More pictures


Further reading

Cite this article as:

Ballesteros, Manuel, Enric Madrenas, Miquel Pontes (2012-2018) "Embletonia pulchra" in OPK-Opistobranquis, Published: 30/08/2012, Accessed: 18/11/2018 at (https://opistobranquis.info/en/XbcIq)

In order to copy this cite or text fragments you must be a registered user.