Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Colpomenia sinuosa (Mertens ex Roth) Derbés & Solier 1851: 95.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Scytosiphonales – Family Scytosiphonaceae

Selected citations: Clayton 1975: 187, figs 5–7, 12, 13. Parsons 1982: 291, figs 2,3,11,12. Womersley 1967: 244.

Thallus (Fig. 107A) medium to dark brown, sessile with a broad base, 2–15 cm (-I m) across and 1–4 (–8) cm high, irregularly globular, lobed, convolute or folded, membranous and firm when living, hollow, epilithic or epiphytic. Structure (Fig. 108F) of larger, clear, inner medullary cells, 4–6 cells thick, and a cortex 1–2 cells thick of small isodiametric cells 9–12 µm across in surface view, each with a single phaeoplast and pyrenoid; phaeophycean hairs in scattered groups, (5–) 8–10 (–12) µm in diameter.

Reproduction: Sori mostly punctate (Fig. 108E), usually discrete and mostly 200–400 µm across, developing around hair groups, covered when young by an overall cuticular membrane which later ruptures. Plurilocular reproductive organs (Fig. 108F) uniseriate or with occasionally divided locules, 30–40 µm and 6–10 locules long, 4–5 µm in diameter, 2 or 4 rows arising from each cortical cell, accompanied by scattered, clavate, unicellular paraphyses (25–) 30–50 µm long and 8–16 µ diameter, L/B 3–4, with dense physodes.

Type from Cadiz, Spain; location uncertain (see Parsons 1982, p. 293).

Selected specimens: Dampier Arch., N.W. of W. Aust., 1 m deep opposite Haycock I. (Cambridge, 24.viii.1979; ADU, AS 1776). Cable Hut Bay, Yorke Pen., S. Aust., low eulittoral (Womersley, 9.xi.1980; ADU, A51846-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 261). Aldinga, S. Aust., low eulittoral (Engler & Clarke, 24.ii.1980; ADU, A50873). Nora Creina, S. Aust., mid eulittoral (Parsons, 6.vi.1982; ADU, A53188). Cape Liptrap, Vic., in low pools (Sinkora A2196, 18.x.1975; ADU, A48477). Remine, Tas., reef pools ( Wollaston & Mitchell, 25.ii.1964; ADU, A27497). Green I., N. Qld, lower eulittoral (Raschke, 20.xi.1968; ADU, A33295).

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

Distribution: Widely distributed in most oceans.

Generally around the Australian Coast, from the mid eulittoral to below low tide level, mainly in summer.

Taxonomic notes: C. sinuosa is distinctive when in good, fertile condition, and appears to be commoner than C. peregrina; the robustness of the thalli of both species is probably largely ecological, being less robust in sheltered conditions.


CLAYTON, M.N. (1975). A study of variation in Australian species of Colpomenia (Phaeophyta, Scytosiphonales). Phycologia 14, 187–195.

DERBÉS, A. & SOLIER, A.J.J. (1851). Algues. In Castagne, J.L.M., Supplément au Catalogue des plantes qui croissent naturellement aux environs de Marseille. pp. 93–121. (Nicot & Pardigon: Aix.)

PARSONS, M.J. (1982). Colpomenia (Endlicher) Derbés & Solier (Phaeophyta) in New Zealand. N.Z. J. Bot. 20, 289–301.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1967). A critical survey of the marine algae of southern Australia. II. Phaeophyta. Aust. J. Bot. 15, 189–270.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (14 December, 1987)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Part II
©Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, Government of South Australia

Illustrations in Womersley Part II, 1997: FIGS 107A, 108E,F.

Figure 107 image

Figure 107   enlarge

Fig. 107. A. Colpomenia sinuosa (ADU, A51846). B. Colpomenia peregrina (ADU, A51387). C. Colpomenia ecuticulata (ADU, A53175).

Figure 108 image

Figure 108   enlarge

Fig. 108. A,B. Petalonia fascia (ADU, A54300). A. Surface view of thallus with a sorus of plurilocular organs and paraphyses (stippled). B. Transverse section of thallus with plurilocular organs and paraphyses (stippled). C,D. Scytosiphon lomentaria ( C, ADU, A24419; D, ADU, A52004, sporophyte). C. Transverse section of thallus with cortex, plurilocular organs, paraphyses and phaeophycean hairs. D. Transverse section of sporophytic crust with plurilocular sporangia; one erect filament shown with phaeoplasts. E,F. Colpomenia sinuosa (ADU, A51846). E. Surface pattern of punctate sori around hair tufts. F. Transverse section with part of sorus with phaeophycean hair tufts, plurilocular organs, large paraphyses and cuticular membrane. G.H. Colpomenia peregrina (ADU, A55731). G. Surface pattern of spreading sorus and hair tufts. H. Transverse section with part of sorus, with plurilocular organs, paraphyses and phaeophycean hairs. I–K. Colpomenia ecuticulata (ADU, A53175). I. Surface pattern of reticulate sorus and hair tufts. J. Surface view of cells, plurilocular organs and paraphyses. K. Transverse section with phaeophycean hair tuft and part of sorus with plurilocular organs and 2-celled paraphyses.

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