Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Bangia atropurpurea (Roth) C. Agardh 1824: 76 subsp. atropurpurea. Cribb 1983: 11, pl. 4 figs 3–5.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Bangiophyceae – Order Bangiales – Family Bangiaceae

Selected citations: Garbary et al. 1980b: 167, figs 8b, 9a-m. Kornmann & Sahling 1977: 262, fig. 150.


B. fuscopurpurea (Dillwyn) Lyngbye 1819: 83. Cole 1972: 231. Kylin 1944: 8, fig. 2E–M. Okamura 1921: 87, pl. 171 figs 6–12. Richardson & Dixon 1968: 496. Rosenvinge 1909: 56, figs 1–4. Tanaka 1950: 165, fig. 3; 1952: 23, pl. 2 fig. 2.

Thallus (Fig. 3D) rose to dark red, occurring as a dense mass of flaccid, simple filaments, 1–10 cm long and 20–200 (–300) µm in diameter, with a prominent mucilaginous sheath, each filament basally attached by rhizoids from several suprabasal cells. Filaments (Fig. 3D) at first uniseriate, becoming several cells broad by longitudinal divisions producing radially elongate, cuneate, cells surrounding a slight central cavity. Cells (Fig. 3D–F) in uniseriate filaments 8–16 (–20) µm in diameter and L/D (0.2–) 0.5–1.5, in thicker parts isodiametric in surface view, 8–12 µm across, each with a single stellate rhodoplast (Fig. 3E) with a central pyrenoid.

Reproduction: Reproduction by monospores liberated from vegetative cells. Sexual plants dioecious; carpogonia (Fig. 3E, F) with a slight prototrichogyne; carposporangia formed in vague groups of 8–16; spermatangia (Fig. 3G) formed in more or less square (in surface view) packets of 16–64, pale in colour, with spermatia 2–3 µm in diameter.

Conchocelis-phase as for the genus, not recorded for Australian plants.

Type from Bremen, Germany; probably destroyed (Koster 1969).

Selected specimens: Swan R., W. Aust., lower eulittoral on cement wall (Cribb 66.1, 4.viii.1950; AD, A13935). Outer Harbor, Port Adelaide, S. Aust., on floating raft (Womersley, 22.vi.1953; AD, A18829 -"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 60). West Lakes, Adelaide, S. Aust., mid eulittoral on concrete wall (Taylor, 12.i.1976; AD, A46762). Granite I., Victor Harbor, S. Aust., upper eulittoral (Womersley, 14.ii.1946; AD, A2200). American R. inlet, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., at water-line on buoys (Womersley, 4.ii.1956; AD, A20062). Cape Willoughby, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., at pool edges (Womersley, 18.viii.1948; AD, A9460). Apollo Bay, Vic., on boat at water-line (Womersley, 13.v.] 982; AD, A55523). Dover, Tas., lower eulittoral (Wollaston, 20.viii.1965; AD, A29541). Bicheno, Tas., upper eulittoral (Womersley, 20.x.1986; AD, A57746). Merimbula, N.S.W., upper eulittoral (Womersley, 12.viii.1959; AD, A23143). Wattamolla, Sydney, N.S.W., in rock pools (May 215, 24.viii.1944; NSW).

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

Distribution: Cosmopolitan in temperate regions on marine mid eulittoral rock or timber; widely distributed in temperate freshwater areas of Europe.

In southern Australia, from Fremantle, W. Aust., around Tasmania to N.S.W, and southern Queensland (Cribb 1983, p. 11).

Taxonomic notes: The morphologically inseparable species B. atropurpurea (freshwater) and B. fuscopurpurea (marine) are now regarded as one species under the first name, following the studies of Geesink (1973) in particular.

B. atropurpurea subsp. atropurpurea occurs in southern Australia usually in the upper eulittoral under strong to moderate wave wash, at any time of the year, as patches which probably exist only for a few months.


AGARDH, C.A. (1824). Systema Algarum. (Berling: Lund.)

COLE, K. (1972). Observations on the life history of Bangia fuscopurpurea. Mem. Soc. bot. Fr. 1972, 231–236.

CRIBB, A.B. (1983). Marine algae of the southern Great Barrier Reef. Part I. Rhodophyta. (Aust. Coral Reef Soc., Handbook 2: Brisbane.)

GARBARY, D.J., HANSEN, G.I. & SCAGEL, R.F. (1980b). The marine algae of British Columbia and northern Washington: Division Rhodophyta (red algae), Class Bangiophyceae. Syesis 13, 137–195.

GEESINK, R. (1973). Experimental investigations on marine and freshwater Bangia (Rhodophyta) from the Netherlands. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 11, 239–247.

KORNMANN, P. & SAHLING, P.-H. (1977). Meeresalgen von Helgoland. Benthische Griin-, Braun- and Rotalgen. Helgol. wiss. Meeresunters. 29, 1–292.

KOSTER, J.T. (1969). Type collections of algae. Taxon 18, 549–559.

KYLIN, H. (1944). Die Rhodophyceen der schwedischen Westküste. Lunds Univ. Årsskr. N.F. Avd. 2, 40 (2), 1–104, Plates 1–32.

LYNGBYE, H.CH. (1819). Tentamen Hydrophytologiae Danicae. (Copenhagen.)

OKAMURA, K. (1921). Icones of Japanese Algae. Vol. 4 (5), pp. 85–107, Plates 171–175.

RICHARDSON, W.N. & DIXON, P.S. (1968). Life history of Bangia fuscopurpurea (Dillw.)Lyngb. in culture. Nature 218, 496–497.

ROSENVINGE, L.K. (1909). The marine algae of Denmark. Part 1. Introduction. Rhodophyceae. 1. (Bangiales and Némalionales). K. danske Vidensk. Selsk. Biol. Skr., 7 Raekke, Afd. 7, 1–151, Plates 1, 2,2 maps.

TANAKA, T. (1950). On the species of Bangia from Japan. Bot. Mag. Tokyo 63, 747–748.

TANAKA, T. (1952). The systematic study of the Japanese Protoflorideae. Mem. Fac. Fish. Kagoshima Univ. 2, 1–92, Plates 1–23.

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.

Illustration in Womersley Part IIIA, 1994: FIG. 3 D–H.

Figure 3 image

Figure 3   enlarge

Fig. 3. A–C. Porphyropsis minuta (AD, A24525). A. Mature thallus on Pterocladia. B. Cell arrangement. C. Older membrane, with some cells releasing monosporangia. D–H. Bangia atropurpurea subsp. atropurpurea (AD, A29541). D. Filaments. E. Female filaments in surface view, with carpogonia, one with a prototrichogyne and attached spermatia. F. Ditto, in mid sectional view. G. Male filament with packets of spermatangia.

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