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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Caulerpa simpliciuscula (Turner) C. Agardh.

Phylum Chlorophyta – Order Caulerpales – Family Caulerpaceae

Selected citations: Harvey 1859a: pl. 65 figs 1,2 (not figs 3,4). Lucas 1936: 47. Weber van Bosse 1898: 377. pl. 34 figs 3,4. Womersley 1956: 370.

Stolon slender to moderate, 1–2 mm in diameter, naked, epilithic. Erect fronds (Fig. 91E) medium to dark green, with simple or often branched axes, usually 4–30 cm high and (2.5–) 3–5 mm across, axes 1–2 mm in diameter, densely covered from their bases by vesiculate ramuli with 8–14 around the axis. Ramuli (Fig. 92G) ovoid-pyriform to clavate, 0.7–1.5 mm long and 300–700 (–950) µm in diameter where broadest below apices, constricted immediately adjacent to the axis or with only a very slight protuberance.

Type from Kent I.. Bass Strait (R. Brown); in BM.

Selected specimens: Seven mile beach, Dongara, W. Aust., 0.5–2 m deep (Kirkman, 17.ix.1979; ADU, A51301). Elliston, S. Aust., in deep pools (Woelkerling, 16.v.1968; ADU, A32488-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 11). Nora Creina, S. Aust., upper sublittoral pool (Womersley, 14.xi.1955; ADU, A20019). Walkerville, Vic., in pool (Sinkora A2132, 2.iii.1975; ADU, A48283). Great Taylor Bay, Bruny I., Tas., 2–5 m deep (Shepherd, 14.ii.1972; ADU, A42116). (of var. laxa). Rabbit I., Pelican Lagoon, American R. inlet, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., upper sublittoral (Womersley, 31.v.1947; ADU, A5804). Williamstown, Port Phillip, Vic., drift (Maclennan, 22.vi.1949; ADU, A14126). Crawfish Rock, Westernport Bay, Vic., 0–3 m deep (Watson, 15.ix.1968; ADU, A32749). Bombay Rock, Tamar Estuary, Tas., upper sublittorial (Womersley, 27.i.1949; ADU, A10371).

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

Distribution: From Port Denison, W. Aust. to Walkerville, Vic. and around Tasmania. Common in rock pools and the upper sublittoral on rough-water coasts, extending into hays vvith moderate water movement; recorded to 38 m deep.

Taxonomic notes: C. simpliciuscula has smaller, usually more densely packed, ramuli than in C. vesiculifera, and the constriction is adjacent to the axis or with only a slight protuberance.

Variety laxa Womersley (1956, p. 370) has less dense ramuli (6–10 around the axis) but is otherwise similar. It is found in calmer-water areas such as American River inlet on Kangaroo Island, Port Phillip and Western Port in Victoria, and the north coast of Tasmania. Intergrades exist between the typical rough-water and the calm-water forms, and it is likely that var. laxa is largely an ecological variant.


HARVEY, W.H. (1859a). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 2, Plates 61–120. (Reeve: London.)

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1936). The Seaweeds of South Australia. Pt. I. Introduction and the Green and Brown Seaweeds. (Govt Printer: Adelaide.)

WEBER van BOSSE, A. (1898). Monographie des Caulerpes. Ann. Jardin Bot. Buitenzorg 15, 243–401, Plates 20–34.

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 91E, 92G.

Figure 91 image

Figure 91   enlarge

Fig. 91. A. Caulerpa cactoides (ADU, A43586). B. Caulerpa racemosa var. laetevirens f. cylindracea (ADU. A50562). C. Caulerpa papillosa (ADV. A26451). D. Caulerpa vesiculifera (ADV. A32487). E. Caulerpa simpliciuscula (ADU, A32488).

Figure 92 image

Figure 92   enlarge

Fig. 92. A. Caulerpa geminata, ramuli on axis (ADU, A50951). B. Caulerpa annulata, ramuli on axis (ADU, A48232). C. Caulerpa cactoides, lower axis with ramuli, on stolon (ADU, A43586). D. Caulerpa racemosa var. laetevirens f. cylindracea, ramuli (ADU, A50562). E. Caulerpa papillosa, cross section of axis with ramuli (ADU, A26451). F. Caulerpa vesiculifera, cross section of axis with ramuli (ADU, A32487). G. Caulerpa simpliciuscula cross section of axis with ramuli (ADU, A32488).

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