Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Sphacelaria tribuloides Meneghini. Prud'homme van Reine 1982: 179, figs 422–454.

Phylum Phaeophyta – Order Sphacelariales – Family Sphacelariaceae

Selected citations: Sauvageau 1901: 233 (R123), figs 28–30; 1903: 53 (R237), fig. 47. Womersley 1967: 201.

Thallus (Figs 45G, 52A) medium to dark brown, 5–20 mm long, densely tufted and spreading from a restricted base, usually epilithic, sometimes on seagrasses, attached by stoloniferous filaments. Branching (Fig. 52A) of erect filaments relatively sparse with laterals similar to parent filaments and indeterminate, all filaments growing to an equal height; phaeophycean hairs frequent, 10–16 µm in diameter. Filaments straight, 20–30 µm in diameter above, 25–45 (–50) µm in diameter below, with segments L/B 1–1.5 and showing 1–2 (–3) longitudinal walls (Fig. 52B,C); secondary transverse walls absent.

Reproduction: Reproduction by tribuliform propagula (Fig. 52C), 150–180 µm long and 100–130 µm across the arms, borne on a uniseriate, 1–3 celled pedicel, with the two arms distinct, tapering, with their terminal cells cut off by a straight cross wall, and a small lenticular cell mid way between the arms. Zooidangia unknown for Australian plants; in Europe (Prud'homme van Reine 1982, p. 182) unilocular sporangia subspherical, 65–80 µm in diameter, and plurilocular sporangia ovoid, 55–100 µm long and 30–55 µm in diameter, with either large or small loculi.

Type from Gulf of Spezia, N. Italy; in FI (?).

Selected specimens: North Beach, Perth, W. Aust., upper sublittoral (Parsons, 14.xi.1968; ADU, A34090). Barker Rocks, S. Aust., at low tide level (Womersley, 24.ix.1967; ADU, A31961). Port Noarlunga, S. Aust, rock pools on platform (Womersley, 15.ii.1974; ADU,

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

Distribution: Widespread in temperate and tropical seas.

In Australia from Port Denison and North Beach, Perth, W.Aust., around southern Australia to Tuggerah Lakes, N.S.W.

Taxonomic notes: A55746). Aldinga, S. Aust., low eulittoral, outer edge of platform (Womersley, 12.16.1967; ADU, A31375). Pennington Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., in pools (Womersley, 30.i.1946; ADU. A4137). Tuggerah Lakes, N.S.W. (Lucas, April 1911; NSW).

S. tribuloides is a common species on rock at or just below low tide level, as is S. novae-hollandiae, but the thallus dimensions are similar to those of S. novae-caledoniae which is largely confined to the host Myriodesma harveyanutn.


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 45G, 52 A–C.

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 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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