Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Nizymenia australis Sonder 1855: 521.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Gigartinales – Family Nizymeniaceae

Selected citations: J. Agardh 1876: 397; 1879: 123, pl. 23 fig. 9. De Toni 1900: 408. Fuhrer et al. 1981: pl. 42. Harvey 1859b: 315; 1860b: p1. 165. Kylin 1932: 57. Searles 1968: 41, fig. 18, pls 8b, 9. Womersley 1971b: 200, figs 1, 2.


Gelidium compositum Kützing 1868: 17, pl. 49.

Amylophora coleae J. Agardh 1892: 100.

Thallus (Fig. 137A) erect but spreading, dark red-brown, much branched irregularly from the branch margins, branches flat, linear (ovate when young), (1.5–) 2–3 mm broad, basally constricted and with rounded apices, with a short stipe 5–10 mm long and 2–3 mm in diameter. Holdfast discoid, 2–5 (–10) mm across; epilithic. Structure uniaxial with four periaxial cells, the two lateral ones more strongly developed, but the axial filament inconspicuous and not persistent, medulla of thick-walled entangled rhizoids 5–8 (–10) µm in diameter; cortex pseudo-parenchymatous, inner cells ovoid and 10–18 µm in diameter, outer cells 4–6 µm in diameter and L/D 1–1.5; rhodoplasts discoid, largely filling outer cells, becoming elongate in inner cells.

Reproduction: Sexual thalli probably dioecious. Procarps arising in base of tufts of uniseriate filaments on the branch surface, with one or two 3-celled carpogonial branches and an intercalary auxiliary cell in a separate filament; auxiliary cell producing a single gonimoblast initial and developing into a central fusion cell with dense, radiating, gonimoblast filaments terminating in chains of 3–6 ovoid carposporangia 6–9 µm in diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 137B) on the branch surface, globular, smooth to verrucose, 400–800 ilITI across, basally constricted, with a thick, dense, pericarp, ostiolate. Spermatangia unknown.

Tetrasporangia borne on uniseriate filaments (Fig. 137D) 9–15 µm in diameter, lower cells L/D (4–) 8–12 (–20), in scattered tufts (Fig. 137C) on the branch surfaces; sporangia on upper shorter cells below the filament apices, 1–3 from each cell, subspherical to ovoid, sessile, 9–12 µm in diameter, irregularly cruciately divided.

Type from Wilsons Prom., Vic. (Mueller, May 1953); lectotype in MEL, 697628 (left hand specimen).

Selected specimens: West I., S. Aust., 20 m deep (Shepherd, 17.viii.1968; AD, A32651). Toad Head, West I., S. Aust., 12–18 m deep (Shepherd, 5.viii.1970; AD, A36016). Port Elliot, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 17.x.1948; AD, A9430). Robe, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 9.ix.1968; AD, A32733 -"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 86). Cape Buffon, S. Aust., 5 m deep (Kildea & Collings, 27.ix.1992; AD, A61768). 1.35 km off Middle Point, Cape Northumberland, S. Aust., 15 m deep (Johnson, 13.vii.1974; AD, A45462). Double Corner Beach, Portland Bay, Vic., drift (Beauglehole, 22.vi.1952; AD, A21698). Point Roadknight, Vic., drift (Sinkora A1449, 29.xi.1971; AD, A43216). Point Lonsdale, Vic., upper sublittoral (Womersley, 21.i.1967; AD, A31719). Walkerville, Vic., drift (Sinkora A1877, 9.xii.1973; AD, A53559). Low Head, Tas. (Perrin & Lucas, April 1932; BM). Lady Bay, Southport, Tas., drift (Wollaston & Mitchell, 27.ii.1964; AD, A27529).

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

Distribution: West I., S. Aust., to Wilsons Prom., Vic., and around Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: Nizymenia australis is a deep water alga on rough-water coasts, often common in the drift. Specimens with tetrasporangial tufts are rare, though one collection (AD, A61768) of some 8 plants all possessed such tufts but with undivided sporangia.


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. (1879). Florideernes morphologi. K. Svenska Vetensk. Akad. Handl. 15(6), 1–199, Plates 1–33.

AGARDH, J.G. (1892). Analecta Algologica. Acta Univ. lund. 28, 1–182, Plates 1–3.

DE TONI, G.B. (1900). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 2, pp. 387–776. (Padua.)

FUHRER, B., CHRISTIANSON, I.G., CLAYTON, M.N. & ALLENDER, B.M. (1981). Seaweeds of Australia. (Reed: Sydney.)

HARVEY, W.H. (1859b). Algae. In Hooker, J.D., The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage. Flora Tasmaniae. Vol. II, pp. 282–320.

HARVEY, W.H. (1860b). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 3, Plates 121–180. (Reeve: London.)

KÜTZING, F.T. (1868). Tabulae Phycologicae. Vol. 18. (Nordhausen.)

KYLIN, H. (1932). Die Florideenordnung Gigartinales. Lunds Univ. Årsskr. N.F. Avd. 2, 28 (8), 1–88, Plates 1–28.

SEARLES, R.B. (1968). Morphological studies of red algae of the order Gigartinales. Univ. Calif Pubis Bot. 43, vi + 1–86, Plates 1–12.

SONDER, O.W. (1855). Algae annis 1852 et 1853 collectae. Linnaea 26, 506–528.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1971b). The relationships of Nizymenia and Stenocladia (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta). Phycologia 10, 199–203.

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. 137.

Figure 137 image

Figure 137   enlarge

Fig. 137. Nizymenia australis (A, AD, A32733; B–D, AD, A32651). A. Habit. B. Section of a cystocarp showing central fusion cell, carposporophyte with displaced carposporangia (around ostiole) and thick pericarp. C. Clusters of tetrasporangial filaments. D. Filaments with tetrasporangia. [C, D after Womersley 1971b.]

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