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young, 1.1 mm


  Embletonia gracilis
Risbec, 1928
Embletonia gracilis
Maximum Size:  20 mm.

Identification:  The body of this unique dendronotid is extremely long and narrow with a single row of widely-spaced bifid cerata on each side. The cerata split again at the tips in older animals. The body and cerata are translucent white, dusted with opaque white flecks and the cerata range from cream to peach to brown depending on the food source. There is a white ring at the base of each ceras where it attaches to the body. Unlike most other dendronotids, it lacks rhinophoral sheaths.

Natural History:  Embletonia gracilis is rarely seen due to its small size and cryptic coloration. It has been found in moderately protected locations on the undersides of rocks from 9-25 m (30-82 ft). It reportedly feeds on campanularid hydroids and, like many aeolids, stores the nematocysts in sacks at the tips of its cerata. (Baba & Hamatani, 1963) When at rest, its body is fully extended, but it contracts and may autotomize its cerata when disturbed.

Distribution:  Maui, Oahu, Kauai and Midway: widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific; also in the eastern Pacific.

Taxonomic notes:  This species was listed as Embletonia gracile in Kay, 1979, Gosliner, 1980 and Bertsch & Johnson, 1981. It was first reported from Hawaii in Edmondson, 1946. The name means "slender." There's some chance that the juvenile may be different.

Photo:  PF: 20 mm: Molokini Islet, Maui; April 9, 1994.

Observations and comments:

Note 1:  ( )
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