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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Sphacelaria novae-hollandiae Sonder 1845: 50; 1846: 154.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Sphacelariales – Family Sphacelariaceae

Selected citations: Sauvageau 1901: 247 (R137), figs 33, 34A. Womersley 1967: 200.

Thallus (Figs 45E, 50A) medium to dark brown, 5–10 (–15) mm long, densely tufted, usually epilithic with a stoloniferous, compact, base. Branching (Fig. 50A) of erect filaments frequent with numerous short to long laterals at narrow to moderate angles, slenderer than main filaments and some of limited growth; phaeophycean hairs frequent, 7–10 µm in diameter. Filaments in upper parts 40–50 (–60) µm in diameter (Fig. 50B), becoming (48–) 50–70 in diameter below (Fig. 50C,G,H), with segments L/B 0.5–1.0 and showing 3–5 longitudinal walls; secondary transverse walls absent.

Reproduction: Propagula (Fig. 50D–F) (100–) 150–200 µm long and 80–120 µm across the arms, borne on a 1–3 celled uniseriate pedicel, with the two arms tapering to a rounded terminal cell cut off by either a straight or angled cross wall, and with a small lenticular cell midway between the arms. Unilocular sporangia (Fig. 50G) ovoid to subspherical, pedicellate, borne in small clusters, 24–36 µm in diameter. Plurilocular sporangia (Fig. 50H) borne in small clusters on lower branches, pedicellate, 35–45 µm long and 25–40 µm in diameter.

Type from W. Aust. (Preiss), probably near Fremantle; in MEL, 15779.

Selected specimens: King Head, Rottnest I., W. Aust., in shallow reef pools (Womersley, 6.ix.1979; ADU, A50792). Cape Riche, W. Aust. (Harvey, Alg. Aust. Exsicc. 107; MEL, 15780, ADU, A30509). Tiparra reef, Spencer Gulf, S. Aust., on Posidonia (Shepherd, 17.vi.1971; ADU, A39175), Barker Rocks, S. Aust., lower eulittoral on reef ( Womersley, 24.ix.1967; ADU, A31962). Port Stanvac, S. Aust., lower eulittoral (Clarke, 10.xii.1977; ADU, A50440).

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

Distribution: From Rottnest I., W. Aust. around southern Australia to Port Stanvac, S. Aust., usually in the lower eulittoral.

Also recorded from Mauritius (Boergesen 1941, p. 45), the tropical Pacific (Dawson 1954, p. 400) and western tropical Atlantic (Taylor 1960, p. 211).

Taxonomic notes: S. novae-hollandiae occurs in similar situations to S. tribuloides but has distinctly thicker filaments, is more branched, and the propagula commonly (but not always) have an angled cross wall cutting off the terminal cells of the arms. In filament dimensions it is similar to S. brachygonia but differs clearly in the form of the propagula.


BOERGESEN, F. (1941). Some marine algae from Mauritius. II. Phaeophyceae. K. Dan. Vidensk. Selsk. Biol. Meddr 16(3), 1–81, Plates 1–8.

DAWSON, E.Y. (1954). Marine plants in the vicinity of the Institut Océanographique de Nha Trang, Viêt Nam. Pacific Sci. 8, 372–481.

SONDER, O.W. (1845). Nova Algarum genera et species, quas in itinere ad oras occidentales Novae Hollandiae, collegit L. Preiss. Bot. Ztg 3, 49–57.

SONDER, O.W. (1846). Algae. In Lehmann, C., Plantae Preissianae. Vol. 2, pp. 148–160. (Hamburg.)

TAYLOR, W.R. (1960). Marine algae of the eastern tropical and subtropical coasts of the Americas. (Univ. Mich. Press: Ann Arbor.)

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 45E, 50 A–H.

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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