Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Kuckuckia spinosa (Kützing) Kuckuck 1958: 172, figs 1–4.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Ectocarpales

Selected citations: Cardinal 1964: 73, fig. 38. Clayton 1974: 794, fig. 30. Coppejans 1983, pls 63, 64.


Kuckuckia criniger (Kuckuck) Hamel. Kylin 1947: 14, fig. 8.

Thallus (Fig. 2C) tufted, much branched, usually 1–5 cm long, epilithic or epiphytic, basally attached by descending rhizoids (Fig. 4E), with long, unbranched filaments below and irregularly branched above (Fig. 4D) one to a few cells apart; main filaments (45–) 50–90 µm in diameter, tapering noticeably to 20–30 µm in diameter in lesser branchlets and 10–15 µm below terminal hairs; phaeophycean hairs (with basal meristem of usually two cells) terminal (Fig. 4F) or occasionally lateral on most branchlets, 10–20 µm in diameter. Growth diffuse or with intercalary meristems. Cells with several long, usually narrow, phaeoplasts (occasionally branched) running lengthwise (Fig. 4G) or spiralling, each with several stalked pyrenoids, and centrally massed physodes.

Reproduction: Plurilocular organs (Fig. 4H) sessile or pedicellate, lateral or terminal on short branchlets, conical, 45–100(430) µm long and 20–35 µm in diameter. Unilocular sporangia (Fig. 41) ovoid, usually on plants bearing plurilocular organs, 25–35 µm long and 20–25 µm in diameter, with a single-celled pedicel.

Type from Spalato, Italy; in L (Kuckuck 1958, p. 173).

Selected specimens: Tiparra reef, Spencer Gulf, S. Aust., 5 m deep on Amphibolis (Shepherd, 20.viii.1971; ADU, A39457). Investigator Strait, S. Aust., 25 m deep on Posidonia, 35°12'S, 137°31'E (Watson, 9.i.1971; ADU, A38439). Black Point, Yorke Pen., S. Aust., 1.5–2 m deep on Sargassum decurrens (Reimers, 15.vi.1986; ADU, A57120). Shoreham, Western Port, Vic. (Clayton, 9.iii.1969; MELU, 21063; ADU, A39497). Stewarts Bay, Port Arthur, Tas., drift on Heterozostera (Womersley, 30.x.1982; ADU, A55784).

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

Distribution: Mediterranean.

In southern Australia, from Tiparra Reef, Spencer Gulf, S. Aust. to Flinders, Vic., and Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: Some of the Australian specimens compare well with this species from the Mediterranean; others, however, while agreeing well in size, form of the phaeoplasts, and the form of the plurilocular sporangia, do not show a meristematic zone of two small cells at the base of the hair. Clearly, further studies on the variation in Kuckuckia and the distinctions from Ectocarpus are needed.

Kuckuckia is common as an epiphyte on Amphibolis and Posidonia in 5–6 m depth at Tiparra reef in Spencer Gulf, but Clayton's (1974, p. 794) specimens from Port Phillip and Western Port in Victoria were apparently in shallow water.


CARDINAL, A. (1964). Étude sur les Ectocarpacees de la Manche. Nova Hedwigia 15, 1–86, Figs. 1–41.

CLAYTON, M.N. (1974). Studies on the development, life history and taxonomy of the Ectocarpales (Phaeophyta) in southern Australia. Aust. J. Bot. 22, 743–813.

COPPEJANS, E. (1983). Iconographie d'Algues Méditerranéennes. Bibl. Phycol. 63, i-xxviii, Plates 1–317.

KUCKUCK, P. (1958). Herausgegeben von P. Kornmann. Ectocarpaceen-Studien V. Kuckuckia, Feldmannia. Helgol. wiss. Meeresunters. 6, 171–192.

KYLIN, H. (1947). Die Phaeophyceen der Schwedischen Westkiiste. Acta Univ. lund. N.F. Avd. 2, 43(4), 1–99, Plates 1–18.

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 2C, 4 D–I.

Figure 2 image

Figure 2   enlarge

Fig. 2. A. Asteronema ferruginea on Hormosira (ADU, A52853). B. Bachelotia antillarum (ADU, A49210). C. Kuckuckia spinosa on Amphibolis (ADU, A39457). D. Ectocarpus siliculosus (ADU, A54422). E. Ectocarpus fasciculatus on Ecklonia (ADU, A32006).

Figure 4 image

Figure 4   enlarge

Fig. 4. A–C. Bachelotia antillarum (ADU, A22657). A. Basal and erect filaments. B. Filament with lower meristematic region and upper mature cells with stellate phaeoplasts. C. Filament with unilocular sporangia. D–I. Kuckuckia spinosa (D–H, ADU, A39457; I, ADU, A55784). D. Branch system with terminal phaeophycean hairs and sessile sporangia. E. Base of filament with rhizoids. F. Terminal phaeophycean hair with a basal meristem. G. Cell of lower filament with elongate phaeoplasts (with pyrenoids) and clustered physodes. H. Mid filament with two pedicellate plurilocular sporangia. I. Branches with unilocular sporangia.

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