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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Bryopsis australis Sonder 1846: 152.

Phylum Chlorophyta – Order Derbesiales – Family Bryopsidaceae

Selected citations: Kützing 1856: 28, pl. 81 fig. 1. Womersley 1956: 362.


B. indica Gepp & Gepp, sensu Womersley 1956: 363.

Thallus (Fig. 97B) 1–4 (–5) cm high, often densely tufted, with few to numerous axes arising from a branched, rhizoidal system, epilithic. Axes simple or occasionally branched, lanceolate in outline, denuded below, bearing ramuli bilaterally (Fig. 96D), or unilaterally (Fig. 96E) when densely clumped, with the ramuli on each side arranged more or less in two rows but with occasional ramuli between the rows. Axes (250–) 300–500 (–600) µm in diameter below, 150–250 µm in diameter above, bearing ramuli 0.5–1.5 mm long and 50–120 (–200) µm in diameter with lower ramuli sometimes extending to several mm long; scars on axes conspicuous or not; chloroplasts round to lenticular, 2–6 µm long.

Reproduction: Reproduction unknown.

Type from Western Australia, probably near Fremantle (Preiss); lectotype in MEL, 26484.

Selected specimens: Radar Reef, Rottnest I., W. Aust., upper sublittoral (Woelkerling, 11.xi.1968; ADU, A34391). King Head, Rottnest I., W. Aust., lowest eulittoral with strong surge ( Womersley, 6.ix.1979; ADU, A50705-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 227). Kingscote, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., low eulittoral (Womersley, 2.i.1950; ADU, A12914). Ballast Head, Kangaroo L, S. Aust., upper sublittoral (Womersley, 3.ii.1956; ADU, A20302).

Distribution map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of SA

Distribution: Rottnest I. and adjacent mainland coasts (limits uncertain), W. Aust., and from Kingscote and Ballast Head on Kangaroo I., S. Aust.

Taxonomic notes: From the type material, B. australis is a small, slender species with relatively long, simple axes bearing ramuli only near their apices, denuded below. The ramuli, and scars on mid and sometimes lower axes, are usually bilaterally arranged with two alternating rows on each side of the axes, but in densely clumped plants only one unilateral but double series of ramuli is usually present. B. australis was discussed by Gepp & Gepp (1908, p. 170) in describing B. indica, which is scarcely different morphologically from the former species. Kangaroo Island specimens, previously placed in B. indica, are now referred to B. australis. B. foliosa Sonder is typically radially branched, but some plants have older axes with the ramuli on opposite sides but irregularly placed. The eastern B. gemellipara also has opposite ramuli in alternating rows on each side, but is a larger and more robust species.

As with other Australian species, life history and variation studies of B. australis are needed.


GEPP, A. & GEPP, E.S. (1908). Marine algae (Chlorophyceae and Phaeophyceae) and marine phanerogams of the `Sealark' Expedition, collected by J. Stanley Gardiner. Trans. Linnean Soc. London, ser. 2. 7, 163–188, Plates 22–24.

KÜTZING, F.T. (1856). Tabulae Phycologicae. Vol. 6. (Nordhausen.)

SONDER, O.W. (1846). Algae. In C. Lehmann, Plantae Preissianae. Vol. 2, pp. 148–160. (Hamburg.)

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1956). A critical survey of the marine algae of southern Australia. I. Chlorophyta. Aust. J. mar. freshw. Res. 7, 343–383.

The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part I complete list of references.

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (31 May, 1984)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Part I
©Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, Government of South Australia

Illustrations in Womersley Part I, 1984: FIGS 96D,E, 97B.

Figure 96 image

Figure 96   enlarge

Fig. 96. A,B. Bryopsis vestita (ADU, A39538). A. Axis with laterals and ramuli. B. Lateral with irregularly arranged ramuli. C. Bryopsis plumosa, part of axis with distichous ramuli (ADU, A43931). D,E. Bryopsis australis. D. Axis with bilateral ramuli in displaced rows (ADU, A34391). E. Axis with unilateral ramuli (ADU, A50705).

Figure 97 image

Figure 97   enlarge

Fig. 97. A. Bryopsis plumosa (ADU, A53203), same scale as C. B. Bryopsis australis (ADU, A50705). C. Bryopsis gemellipara (ADU, A53202).

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