Definitive erythropoiesis in birds originates from stem cells that emerge in the splanchnopleural mesoderm near the embryonic aorta. The yolk sac is still generally held to be the unique provider of haematopoietic stem cells during mammalian ontogeny, although there may be an alternative intraembryonic source of stem cells in the mouse fetus. Here we search for a possible non-yolk-sac source of stem cells by grafting intraembryonic splanchnopleura from 10- to 18-somite mouse embryos into adult immunodeficient SCID mice. We find significant amounts of donor-derived serum IgM, normal numbers of IgM-secreting plasma cells, and the B1a (IgM(a)brightB220dullCD5+) cell subset to be fully reconstituted by donor progenitors 3 to 6 months after engraftment. The haematogenic capacity revealed in our experiments is present in a previously unrecognized site, the earliest described in the embryo, 12 hours before fetal liver colonization.