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Notheia anomala Harvey & Bailey 1851: 371.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Notheiales – Family Notheiaceae

Selected citations: Barton 1899: 417, pls 12–14. Gibson 1986: 20. Harvey 1855b: 216, pl. 109A; 1862: pl. 213. Lindauer et al. 1961: 238, fig. 7l. Lucas 1936: 82, fig. 48. Nizamuddin & Womersley 1960: 673. Womersley 1967: 237.

Thallus (Fig. 122A) dark brown, hemi-parasitic on Hormosira (or Xiphophora chondrophylla) and attached usually adjacent to a host conceptacle, usually 5–12 (–20) cm long, much branched, with one to a few simple to occasionally (truly) branched axes bearing numerous irregularly placed laterals arising largely from within conceptacles (Fig. 123A), or adjacent to them, and probably consisting of new plants, with the whole thallus thus a multiple plant. Main axes 1–2 mm in diameter below, 0.5–1 mm in diameter above, lateral branches 0.3–0.8 mm in diameter, basally constricted within the ostiole and broadening suddenly outside it, linear or tapering slightly to broadly pointed apices, with prominent tufts of colourless phaeophycean hairs 0.5–1 mm long issuing from the ostioles (Fig. 123A). Growth from a protruding group of 3 apical cells segmenting latero-posteriorly to form elongate cells of medullary filaments and a cortex of shorter cells; tissues from each of the 3 apical cells separated by mucilage and recognisable for 15–20 cells below, then indistinguishable. Outer cortical cells forming a meristoderm, the cells dividing by oblique longitudinal walls and then transversely. Structure (Fig. 123B,C) largely haplostichous, with occasional intercalary longitudinal cell divisions, differentiating into a medulla of longitudinal filaments 20–40 µm in diameter, and hyphae, with pit-connections linking the cells, and a cortex of filaments of pit-connected cells 15–25 µm in diameter (larger in inner cortex), and L/B mostly 1–1.5, with an outer meristoderm; outer cells with several discoid phaeoplasts, without pyrenoids, with numerous physodes. Phaeophycean hairs (Fig. 123C) with a long basal cell and a meristem, 8–12 µ in diam.

Reproduction: Conceptacles profuse, scattered over the branches, ostiolate, 120–200 µm in diameter, containing colourless, simple, hairs of two thicknesses (the broader phaeophycean) and sessile gametangia (Fig. 123B,C). Female gametangia elongate-ovoid, 45–80 µm long and 12–30 µm in diameter, producing 8 pyriform female gametes through basal, lateral or terminal pores, containing 2–4 phaeoplasts and an eyespot, 12–27 µm long and 5–12 µm in diameter. Antheridia 40–80 I.tm long and 10–25 µm in diameter, producing 64 sperms, with one pale phaeoplast and an eyespot, 6–10 µ long and 4–6 gm in diameter. Female gametes settling on parent tissue before fertilisation, or germinating without fertilisation to form branched filaments bearing erect phaeophycean hairs and erect, uniseriate, reproductive bodies.

Type from the Bay of Islands, New Zealand; in Herb. Harvey, TCD.

Selected specimens: (all on Hormosira banksii except for A56206): Sceale Bay, S. Aust., low eulittoral ( Womersley, 11.ii.1954; ADU, A19473). Rosetta Bay, Victor Harbor, S. Aust., lower eulittoral ( Womersley, 7.ix.1986; ADU, A57145). Pennington Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., lower eulittoral ( Womersley, 28.i.1946; ADU, A2824). Robe, S. Aust., lower eulittoral (Womersley, 18.viii.1957; ADU, A21 102). Carpenter Rocks, S. Aust., lower eulittoral ( Womersley, 5.ii.1970; ADU, A35184-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 46). Barwon Heads, Vic., on Xiphophora chondrophylla (Wikon, 2.v.1891; MEL, 1550990). Flinders, Vic., lower eulittoral (Womersley, 18.i.1967; ADU, A31791). Flinders, Vic., lower eulittoral pools on Xiphophora chondrophylla (Christiansen, 25.x.1984; ADU, A56206). Waratah Bay, Vic., in rock pools (Sinkora A2251, 1.iii.1976; ADU, A48378). Low Head, Tas., on rock (Levring, 25.ii.1948; ADU, A55984). Port Arthur, Tas. (Cribb 37.10, 6.iii.1950; ADU, A16068). Cape Solander, N.S.W. (Levring, 17.xii.1947; ADU, A55983).

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

Distribution: From King George Sound, W. Aust. (Harvey) to Port Stephens, N.S.W. (May 1939, p. 206) and around Tasmania.

New Zealand.

Taxonomic notes: N. anomala is usually present and often prolific on Hormosira hanksit (f. sieberi) on rough-water coasts, on rock platforms or around rock pools in the lower eulittoral or just sublittoral.


BARTON, E.S. (1899). On Notheia anomala, Harv. et Bail. J. Linn. Soc. (Bot.) 34, 417–425, Plates 12–14.

GIBSON, G. (1986). Reproduction of Notheia anomala. Australasian Soc. Phycology and Aquatic Bot., 6th Annual Meeting, Feb. 16–18, 1986. Programme and Abstracts, p. 20.

HARVEY, W.H. & BAILEY, J.W. (1851). Descriptions of Seventeen New Species of Algae collected by the United States Exploring Expedition. Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. 3, 370–373.

HARVEY, W.H. (1855b). Algae. In Hooker, J.D., The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage. Part II. Flora Novae-Zelandiae. Vol. 2, pp. 211–266, Plates 107–121.

HARVEY, W.H. (1862). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 4, Plates 181–240. (Reeve: London.)

LINDAUER, V.W., CHAPMAN, V.J. & AIKEN, M. (1961). The marine algae of New Zealand. II. Phaeophyceae. Nova Hedwigia 3, 129–350, Plates 57–97.

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1936). The Seaweeds of South Australia. Part 1. Introduction and the Green and Brown Seaweeds. (Govt Printer: Adelaide.)

MAY, V. (1939). A key to the marine algae of New South Wales. Part. II. Melanophyceae (Phaeophyceae). Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 64, 191–215.

NIZAMUDDIN, M. & WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1960). Structure and systematic position of the Australian brown alga, Notheia anomala. Nature (Lond.) 187, 673–674.

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 122A, 123 A–C.

Figure 122 image

Figure 122   enlarge

Fig. 122. A. Nothela anomala (ADU, A57145). B. Xiphophora gladiata (ADU, A56508). C. Xiphophora chondrophylla (ADU, A55532).

Figure 123 image

Figure 123   enlarge

Fig. 123. A–C. Notheia anomala (ADU, A57145). A. Branches arising from within conceptacles with prominent hair tufts. B. Cross section of a branch with 3 conceptacles containing gametangia and phaeophycean hairs, with cell detail of medulla and cortex. C. Conceptacle detail, showing phaeophycean hairs, slender paraphyses, and female gametangia (with 8 gametes) and male gametangia (64 gametes). D–G. Durvillaea polatorum (ADU, A57429). D. Cross section of female thallus (diagrammatic) with oogonial conceptacles. E. Oogonia with 4 eggs, one on a branched paraphysis. F. Cross section of a male conceptacle (diagrammatic). G. Antheridia on simple and branched paraphyses. H. Hormosira banksii (ADU, A57470). Cross section of a female conceptacle with oogonia, paraphyses, and phaeophycean hairs in the ostiole.

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