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Sphacelaria novae-caledoniae Sauvageau 1901: 251 (R141), fig. 34B–N.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Sphacelariales – Family Sphacelariaceae

Selected citations: Womersley 1967: 200.

Thallus (Figs 51A, 52D) medium brown, 0.5–1.0 (–2) cm long, forming dense tufts on mid and upper branches of Myriodesma harveyanum or rarely epilithic, with the basal filaments penetrating the host meristoderm and branching within. Branching (Fig. 52D) of erect filaments slight to moderate, with laterals similar to parent branches; phaeophycean hairs frequent, 10–14 µm in diameter. Filaments (20–) 25–30 (–35) pm in diameter above (Fig. 52E), 30–35 µm in diameter below, with segments L/B 1.0–1.5 and showing 1–3 longitudinal walls; secondary transverse walls absent.

Reproduction: Reproduction by subtriangular propagula (Fig. 52F,G), 110–150 pm long and 90–130 µm across the arms, borne on a 1–3 celled pedicel, with the two arms rounded and the terminal cells cut off by angled cross walls and with a small lenticular cell mid way between the arms. Unilocular sporangia borne on unicellular pedicels, spherical (Sauvageau 1901: R143, fig. 34M,N); plurilocular sporangia (Fig. 52H) borne singly on 1 (–2) celled pedicels on mid to lower parts of filaments, elongate-ovoid, 55–75 µm long and 25–45 µm in diameter.

Type from Noumea, New Caledonia, on Turbinaria (Balansa, 1869); in PC.

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

Taxonomic notes: Distribution: New Caledonia.

In southern Australia, known as an epiphyte on Myriodesma harveyanum from Point Westall, Eyre Pen., S. Aust., in sublittoral fringe pool (Womersley, 19.i.1951; ADU, A13608-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 241). Elliston, S. Aust., in upper sublittoral pools (Womersley, 14.ii.1954; ADU, A19379). Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo 1., S. Aust., in a large, lower eulittoral pool, shaded (Womersley, 31.xii.1945, 29.i.1957, 24.viii.1963, and other collections; ADU, A3311, A20796 and A26714 respectively). Also from Pearson I., S. Aust., 20–25 m deep, on crustose coralline on rock (Shepherd, 8.i.1969; ADU, A33866).

S. novae-caledoniae is a slender species, similar in dimensions to S. tribuloides, but differs in consistently having an angled wall cutting off the terminal cells of the propagula arms, and apart from the Pearson I. collection it is always epiphytic and usually densely so on Myriodesma harveyanutn.

The Australian plants agree well with Sauvageau's description of the type from New Caledonia.


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 51A, 52 D–H.

Figure 51 image

Figure 51   enlarge

Fig. 51. A. Sphacelaria novae-caledoniae on Myriodesma harveyanum (ADU, A19379). B. Sphacelaria biradiata, densely covering branch of Sargassum decipiens (ADU, A35177). C. Sphacelaria cirrosa on Laurencea (ADU, A39542). D. Sphacelaria rigidula (ADU, A31524). E. Sphacelaria fusca, on stem of lieterozostera (ADU, A39358).

Figure 52 image

Figure 52   enlarge

Fig. 52. A–C. Sphacelaria tribuloides (ADU, A55746). A. Branching pattern of thallus. B. Upper part of branch with apical cell and phaeophycean hairs. C. Filament with two propagula. D–H. Sphacelaria novae-caledoniae (D–G, ADU, A19379; H, ADU, A26714). D. Branching pattern of thallus. E. Upper part of branch with a phaeophycean hair and propagula. F,G. Branches with propagula. H. Branch with plurilocular sporangia.

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