Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Sphacelaria brachygonia Montagne 1843: 305.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Sphacelariales – Family Sphacelariaceae

Selected citations: Prud'homme van Reine 1982: 188, figs 457–472. Sauvageau 1901: 244 (R134), fig. 32. Womersley 1967: 195.

Thallus (Fig. 45F, 501) dark brown, 5–20 mm long, densely tufted from a restricted base, epilithic and attached by a rhizoidal mass. Branching (Fig. 501) of erect filaments moderate, laterals at narrow angles; phaeophycean hairs common to profuse, 10–15 µ in diameter. Filaments straight, 30–50 µm in diameter above (Fig. 50J) and 50–80 µm in diameter below (Fig. 50K) with segments L/B (0.5–) 0.7–1.0 (–1.2) and showing (2–) 3–4 (–5) longitudinal walls; secondary transverse walls absent.

Reproduction: Reproduction by single to occasionally opposite, ellipsoid to fusiform propagula (Fig. 50K), 120–180 µm long (including the pedicel) and (60–) 80–150 µm across the arms, subtended by a uniaxial, 2–5 celled, pedicel, with two broad and rounded arms, more or less straight to slightly convex between them, with the terminal cells prominent and cut off by a straight cross wall, and with a small lenticular cell midway between the arms. Zooidangia unknown.

Type from Diva Catherina I., Brazil; in Herb. Montagne, PC.

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

Distribution: Brazil, western Europe and tropical Africa.

In southern Australia, known from Sleaford Bay, S. Aust., in reef pools (Womersley, 6.i.1951; ADU, A13906). D'Estrees Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., in shallow reef pools (Womersley, 24.viii.1950; ADU, A15394). Port Elliot, S. Aust., at low tide level on breakwater (Parsons, 1.xii.1967; ADU, A32201 and 31.i.1968; ADU, A32270, incorrectly distributed as S. tribuloides in "Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 34).

Taxonomic notes: S. brachygonia is characterised by stouter filaments with shorter segments than in S. tribuloides and by massive, ellipsoid to fusiform propagula; the latter differ clearly from those of S. novae-hollandiae which is of similar thallus diameter and segment length.


MONTAGNE, C. (1843). Quatrième centurie de plantes cellulaires exotiques nouvelles. Ann. Sci. nat., Sér. 2, Bot. 20, 294–306.

PRUD'HOMME VAN REINE, W.F. (1982). A taxonomic revision of the European Sphacelariaceae (Sphacelariales, Phaeophyceae). Leiden Botanical Series, Vol. 6. (Brill: Leiden.)

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 45F, 50 I–K.

Figure 45 image

Figure 45   enlarge

Fig. 45. A. Discosporangium mesarthrocarpum (ADU, A57406). B. Sphacella subtilissima on lateral axis of Bellotia eriophorum (ADU, A39199). C. Sphacelaria multiplex on Platythalia angustifolia (ADU, A34204, holotype). D. Sphacelaria carpoglossi on Carpoglossum confluens (ADU, A31627). E. Sphacelaria novae-hollandiae (ADU, A50792). F. Sphacelaria brachygonia (ADU, A32201). G. Sphacelaria tribuloides (ADU, A55746).

Figure 50 image

Figure 50   enlarge

Fig. 50. A–H. Sphacelaria novae-hollandiae (ADU, A50792). A. Branching pattern of thallus with hairs and propagula. B. Upper part of branch with apical cell and phaeophycean hairs. C. Lower part of axis. D–F. Propagula on branches. G. Branch with empty unilocular sporangia. H. Branch with cluster of mature and young plurilocular sporangia. I–K. Sphacelaria brachygonia (ADU, A32270). I. Branching pattern of thallus with hairs and propagula. J. Upper part of branch with apical cell and phaeophycean hair. K. Branch with propagula.

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