Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Austrophyllis alcicornis (J. Agardh) Womersley & Norris 1971: 27, figs 53–59,97–99.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Gigartinales – Family Kallymeniaceae


Rhodomenia alcicornis J. Agardh 1841: 447.

Callophyllis alcicornis (J. Agardh)J. Agardh 1848: 13; 1851: 299; 1876: 229; 1901: 16. Harvey 1863, synop.: xliii. Lucas 1909: 26.

Sphaerococcus (?) alcicornis (J. Agardh) Kützing 1849: 779.

Hymenocladia ceratoclada J. Agardh 1894: 57. Kylin 1931: 33, pl. 19, fig. 46.

Callophyllis ceratoclada (J. Agardh) Womersley 1956: 83; 1966: 146.

Callophyllis coccinea var. crinalis J. Agardh 1876: 234.

Thallus (Fig. 78D) pale to medium red or brownish, 5–25 cm high, much branched in an irregularly alternate manner and essentially in one plane when young, with branches tapering gradually from 3–5 mm broad near the base of the thallus to usually just less than 0.25 mm broad near the acute branch tips; upper parts of well-developed specimens are often multifid and very slender for several centimetres from their apices; stipe virtually absent; texture firm when fresh, adhering fairly well to paper on drying. Holdfast discoid, 1–3 mm across; epilithic. Structure. Thallus (Fig. 79D) mostly 200–400 µm thick, consisting of a medulla of large, subspherical to ovoid cells (usually not more than two across the thallus) with filaments of ovoid to elongate cells between them, grading to a relatively thin cortex with outer cells ovoid to irregular and 4–9 µm long in surface view, ovoid to slightly elongate in sectional view of thallus; surface view of thallus often showing a slight rosette appearance, with the next inner cells not completely covered by outermost cortical cells; medullary filaments relatively sparse near the apices, more frequent in older parts, 4–9 µm thick.

Reproduction: Sexual thalli dioecious. Carpogonial branch systems (Fig. 79D, E) formed in the outer medulla, relatively small and simple, mostly 30–40 µm across, monocarpogonial with an elongate supporting cell bearing 2–4 elongate subsidiary cells and a 3-celled carpogonial branch; supporting and subsidiary cells often becoming somewhat lobed when older. Fusion cell relatively simple, 40–50 µm across with 4–6 lobes, producing a few connecting filaments. Auxiliary cell systems (Fig. 79F) mostly 20–30 µm across, consisting of an enucleate auxiliary cell and 3–4 small, ovoid, subsidiary cells, one of which may bear 1–2 further cells. Gonimoblast of much-branched filaments developed from the auxiliary cell following fusion with a connecting filament, forming a carposporophyte consisting of a dense, globular mass of subspherical to ovoid carposporangia (15–22 µm long), usually intermixed with few filaments when mature. Cystocarps (Fig. 78E) single or sometimes in small groups, usually protruding above the thallus, hemispherical-conical, ostiolate, with a distinct pericarp, usually situated on upper slender branches but occasionally on older branches. Male thalli with scattered spermatangia (1–2 µm across) cut off from the outer cortical cells (Fig. 79G) and sometimes tending to be in patches or son on young branches.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 79H) scattered in the outer cortex, elongate-ovoid, 28–34 µm long by 14–25 µm broad, cruciately divided.

Type from "Nova Hollandia, ded. Diesing"; holotype in Herb. Agardh, LD, 24992.

Selected specimens: Nuyts Reef, Great Australian Bight, S. Aust., 20 m deep (Shepherd, 26.iii.1980; AD, A52286). Masillon I., Isles of St Francis, S. Aust., 32 m deep (Shepherd, 5.i.1971; AD, A37912). Pearson I., S. Aust., 15 and 20–25 m deep (Shepherd, 8.i.1969; AD, A33935 and A33871 resp.) Port Turton, Yorke Pen., S. Aust., 8–10 m deep (Kald, 5.ix.1970; AD, A37258). Gleneig, S. Aust., 5 m deep on "blocks" (Cannon, 12.ii.1987; AD, A58583). Muston, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 2–3 m deep (Womersley, 21.xi.1968; AD, A32943). Robe, S. Aust., 8 m deep (P. Womersley, 24.viii.1973; AD, A43956). Crawfish Rock, Westernport Bay, Vic., 5–10 m deep (Watson, 29.viii.1971; AD, A39389 -"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 81). Great Taylor Bay, Bruny I., Tas., 6 m deep (Shepherd, 7.ii.1970; AD, A35530).

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

Distribution: Nuyts Reef, S. Aust., to Western Port, Vic., and around Tasmania. Growing at 15–35 m depth at Pearson I. and common in tidal channels at American River Inlet on Kangaroo Island and in Western Port, Vic.

Taxonomic notes: A. alcicornis is similar to slender specimens of Callophyllis rangiferina in appearance and in thallus structure. It differs essentially in being non-procarpic, having distinct though relatively small and simple carpogonial and auxiliary cell systems. It also differs in that while the carposporangia develop in groups from gonimoblast filaments, the latter are relatively inconspicuous in the mature carposporophyte, which appears to consist of a dense mass of carposporangia with few filaments. The small, largely external and ostiolate cystocarps also help to distinguish it from Australian species of Callophyllis, in particular from slender forms of C. rangiferina, though some specimens of the latter have largely external cystocarps. Sterile plants may be distinguished from C. rangiferina by their slenderer, much-branched apices and by their thinner thallus and less continuous layer of outer cortical cells; in C. rangiferina this layer is usually even and complete whereas in

Austrophyllis a slight rosette appearance is often visible, with a ring of outer cells not covering the lower cell from which they were derived.


AGARDH, J.G. (1841). In historiam algarum symbolae. Linnaea 15, 1–50, 443–457.

AGARDH, J.G. (1848). Nya alger från Mexico. Öfvers. K. Svenska Vetensk. Akad. Förh. 4(1), 5–17.

AGARDH, J.G. (1851). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 2, Part 1, 1–336 + index. (Gleerup: Lund.)

AGARDH, J.G. (1876). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 3, Part 1 - Epicrisis systematis Floridearum, pp. i-vii, 1–724. (Weigel: Leipzig.)

AGARDH, J.G. (1894). Analecta Algologica. Cont. II. Acta Univ. lund. 30, 1–98, Plate 1.

AGARDH, J.G. (1901). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 3, Part 4, pp. 1–149. (Gleerup: Lund.)

HARVEY, W.H. (1863). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 5, Plates 241–300, synop., pp. i-lxxiii. (Reeve: London.)

KÜTZING, F.T. (1849). Species Algarum. (Leipzig.)

KYLIN, H. (1931). Die Florideenordnung Rhodymeniales. Lunds Univ. Årsskr. N.F. Avd. 2, 27 (11), 1–48, Plates 1–20.

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1909). Revised list of the Fucoideae and Florideae of Australia. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 34, 9–60.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. & NORRIS, R.E. (1971). The morphology and taxonomy of Australian Kallymeniaceae (Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Bot. Suppl. 2, pp. 1–62.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1956). The marine algae of Kangaroo Island IV. The algal ecology of American River inlet. Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 7, 64–87, Plates 1–7.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1966). Port Phillip survey, 1957–1963: Algae. Mem. natn. Mus., Vict. No. 27, 133–156.

The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part IIIA complete list of references.

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (14 January, 1994)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Rhodophyta. Part IIIA, Bangiophyceae and Florideophyceae (to Gigartinales)
Reproduced with permission from The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part IIIA 1994, by H.B.S. Womersley. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia.

Illustrations in Womersley Part IIIA, 1994: FIGS 78D, E, 79 D–H.

Figure 78 image

Figure 78   enlarge

Fig. 78. A. Thamnophyllis lacerata (A, B, AD, A35159; C, AD, A24819). A. Habit. B. Chains of refractive ganglionic cells. C. Fusion cell (right) with a connecting filament passing to an auxiliary cell system (left). D, E. Austrophyllis alcicornis (D, AD, A39389; E, AD, A33935). D. Habit. E. Transverse section of thallus with cystocarp. [A–C, E as in Womersley & Norris 1971.]

Figure 79 image

Figure 79   enlarge

Fig. 79. A–C. Thamnophyllis lacerata (AD, A35159). A. Transverse section of thallus. B. Carpogonial branch system. C. Auxiliary cell system. D–H. Austrophyllis alcicornis (D–G, AD, A33935; H, AD, A33871). D. Transverse section of thallus with a carpogonial branch system. E. Carpogonial branch system. F. Auxiliary cell system. G. Transverse section of cortex with spermatangia. H. Transverse section of cortex with tetrasporangia. I–K. Austrophyllis harveyana (I, MEL, 1005976; J, K, MEL, 1005977). I. Transverse section of thallus with tetrasporangia. J. Carpogonial branch system. K. Auxiliary cell system. [A–K after Womersley & Norris 1971.]

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