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Sphacelaria carpoglossi Womersley 1967: 197, fig. 2.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Sphacelariales – Family Sphacelariaceae

Thallus (Figs 45D, 48A) medium brown, 2–5 (–7) mm long, with a well developed base of numerous massed filaments penetrating the cortex of the host (Carpoglossum confluens) and a dense spreading tuft of erect filaments. Branching relatively sparse, irregular, with laterals at narrow angles to parent axes and usually similarly developed; longitudinal divisions first occurring few to many cells from the apices (Fig. 48B); phaeophycean hairs absent (or rare). Axes (12–) 16–22 µm in diameter, slightly narrower basally and near apices (Fig. 48B,C), with segments L/B (0.6–) 1–1.5 (Fig. 48D–H); secondary transverse walls absent; pericysts absent.

Reproduction: Reproduction by unilocular sporangia (Fig. 48D–F), in adaxial rows of 1–7, sessile, on short laterals, developed sympodially, the first-formed sporangium subtended by a short to long, uniseriate filament, later lost; sporangia ovoid, 34–54 µm long and 20–27 µm in diameter; and by ovoid to elongate-ovoid plurilocular sporangia (Fig. 48G,H), on short uniseriate laterals 1–4 cells long, at first single but developing into clusters by branching from the pedicel, when mature (20–) 24–40 (–50) µm long and 16–22 (–25) µm in diameter.

Type from Victor Harbor, S. Aust., on Carpoglossum confluens, drift ( Womersley, 19.ix.1965); holotype in ADU, A29527.

Selected specimens: (all on Carpoglossum confluens): Elliston, S. Aust., 20 m deep outside bar (Shepherd, 14.v.1971; ADU, A38708). Wanna, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 19.ii.1959; ADU, A22351). Seal Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift ( Womersley, 29.x.1966; ADU, A30976). Nora Creina, S. Aust., 5–8 m deep (Shepherd, 16.i.1967; ADU, A31627-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 239). Phillip I., Vic. (MEL, 18804). Greens Beach, N. Tas., drift (Womersley, 9.xi.1982; ADU, A55573).

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

Distribution: From Elliston, S. Aust., to Phillip I., Vic. and the N. coast of Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: S. carpoglossi is a frequent epiphyte on Carpoglossum confluens on rough-water coasts. It is readily recognised by the base of massed filaments penetrating into the host medulla. Young plants have single unilocular sporangia in the axil of a long, uniseriate filament which is lost as further sporangia develop. Young actively growing plants may also have many segments below the apical cell without longitudinal divisions.


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 45D, 48.

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 48 image

Figure 48   enlarge

Fig. 48. Sphacelaria carpoglossi (A,B,D,E,G, ADU, A29527, holotype; C,F,H, ADU, A30976). A. Branching pattern of thallus on host. B. Apex of filament. C. Apex of filament. D,E. Young and older branches with unilocular sporangia. F. Young, single, unilocular sporangia. G. Groups of plurilocular sporangia. H. Branch with plurilocular sporangia.

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