Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Polyopes constrictus (Turner) J. Agardh 1849: 86; 1851: 239; 1876: 148; 1879: 108, pl. 6.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Gigartinales – Family Halymeniaceae

Selected citations: Chiang 1970: 40, figs 18, 19, pl. 8. De Toni 1905: 1595. Millar & Kraft 1993: 19.


Fucus constrictus Turner 1811: 40, pl. 152.

Sphaerococcus constrictus (Turner) C. Agardh 1822: 252; 1824: 217.

Gelidium constrictum (Turner) Kützing 1849: 767.

Sphaerococcus microcarpus C. Agardh 1822: 255; 1824: 218.

Chondrus microcarpus (C. Agardh) Kützing 1849: 737.

Prionitis microcarpa (C. Agardh) J. Agardh 1851: 187; 1876: 157. De Toni 1905: 1587.

Chaetangium flabellatum Harvey 1859b: 316. J. Agardh 1876: 540. De Toni 1897: 119.

Thallus (Fig. 48D) dark red-brown to olive-brown, 4–16 cm high, cartilaginous, with dense, spreading to fastigiate tufts of numerous fronds. Fronds individually more or less complanately branched, irregularly subdichotomous at intervals of 3–10 mm (longer near the base), linear, compressed and 0.5–2.0 (–2.5) mm broad, apices rounded, branches with occasional constrictions above. Holdfast discoid, 2–5 (–15) mm across; epilithic. Structure (Fig. 50F) of a firm cortex of anticlinal rows of dichotomous filaments 5–8 (–12) cells long above, becoming longer in lower parts, outer cells 1.5–3 µm in diameter in surface view, elongate-ovoid in section, becoming larger to the inner cortex, and a dense medulla of longitudinal and anastomosing filaments 3–6 µm in diameter; some inner cortical cells slightly stellate, refractive ganglionic cells absent. Rhodoplasts discoid, becoming ribbon shaped and branched, few per cell.

Reproduction: Sexual thalli dioecious. Carpogonial branch ampullae (Fig. 51A) situated in the inner cortex, relatively simple with a few short secondary filaments, carpogonial branches 2-celled. Auxiliary cell ampullae (Figs 50F, 51B) situated in the inner cortex but protruding into the outer medulla, larger and much branched, with moderately long secondary and tertiary filaments (up to 5 orders) of ovoid cells, often becoming profusely branched, and a basal auxiliary cell, later forming a moderately prominent involucre (with lower cells becoming elongate) around the carposporophyte which lies in the outer medulla and inner cortex; carposporangia subspherical to ovoid, 8–12 µm in diameter; ostioles small and narrow, formed by separation of cortical filaments. Spermatangia forming a surface layer on upper branches, elongate, 0.5–1.5 µm in diameter, with subspherical spermatia.

Tetrasporangia in oval to elongate nemathecia (Figs 500, 51C) on upper branches, borne among paraphyses 40–60 µm and 4–8 cells long, lower cells 2–4 µm in diameter and L/D 4–6, upper cells isodiametric and similar to outer cortical cells. Tetrasporangia elongate, 24–30 µm long and 6–10 µm in diameter, cruciately divided.

Type from Kent Is, Bass Strait (R. Brown); lectotype in BM.

Selected specimens: Sleaford Bay, S. Aust., in heavily shaded pool (Womersley, 22.ii.1959; AD, A22499). Cape du Couedic, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., lower eulittoral (Womersley, 12.i.1948; AD, A7010). Port Elliot, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 23.v.1953; AD, A18707). Margaret Brock Reef, Cape Jaffa, S. Aust., 10 m deep (R. Lewis, 15.ii.1974; AD, A45032), Evans Cave, Cape Lannes, S. Aust., uppermost sublittoral (Womersley, 7.xii.1991; AD, A61546). Point Lonsdale, Vic., 0.5 m deep (J. Lewis, 13.ii.1979; MELU, A40575). Cape Woolamai, Vic., 15–18 m deep (Goldsworthy & Berthold, 16.ii.1990; AD, A60193). Gabo I., Vic., 1–3 m deep (Shepherd, 15.ii.1973; AD, A43376). Remine, Tas., reef pools (Wollaston & Mitchell, 25.ii.1964; AD, A27511). Cape Surville, Forestier Pen., Tas., 12 m deep (Goldsworthy, 28.ii.1990; AD, A60435). Taroona, Tas., low eulittoral (Sanderson, 24.xi.1991; AD, A61531). Fluted Cape, Bruny I., Tas., 1–5 m deep (Shepherd, 11.ii.1972; AD, A41752). Green Cape, N.S.W., upper sublittoral and lower eulittoral pools (Ducker & King, 14.xi.1970; MELU, A20760).

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

Distribution: South Africa.

Sleaford Bay, S. Aust. to Twofold Bay, N.S.W., and around Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: The types of Sphaerococcus microcarpus C. Agardh from "Nov. Holl.", in Herb. Agardh, LD, 22858, and of Chaetangium flabellatum Harvey from Port Arthur, Tas., in TCD, are both typical P. constrictus.

P. constrictus is moderately common from shallow but often shaded situations to 20 m deep, distinguished by its dense wiry tufts of slightly compressed, subdichotomous branches.


AGARDH, C.A. (1822). Species Algarum. Vol. 1, Part 2, pp. 169–398. (Berling: Lund.)

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

AGARDH, J.G. (1849). Algologiska bidrag. Öfvers. K. Svenska Vetensk. Akad. Rh-h. 6(3), 79–89.

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

CHIANG, Y.-M. (1970). Morphological studies of red algae of the family Cryptonemiaceae. Univ. Calif Pubis Bot. 58, 1–83, Plates 1–10.

DE TONI, G.B. (1897). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 1, pp. 1–388. (Padua.)

DE TONI, G.B. (1905). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 4, pp. 1523–1973. (Padua.)

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

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

MILLAR, A.J.K. & KRAFT, G.T. (1993). Catalogue of Marine and Freshwater Red Algae (Rhodophyta) of New South Wales, including Lord Howe Island, South-western Pacific. Aust. Syst. Bot. 6, 1–90.

TURNER, D. (1811). Fuci sive Plantarum Fucorum Generi a Botanicis Ascriptarum Icones Descriptiones et Historia. Vol. 3, pp. 1–148, Plates 135–196. (London.)

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley & J.A. Lewis

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 48D, 50F, G, 51 A–C.

Figure 48 image

Figure 48   enlarge

Fig. 48. A. Carpopeltis phyllophora (AD, A38128). Habit. B. Carpopeltis elata (AD, A50795). Habit. C. Carpopeltis spongeaplexus (AD, A52165). Habit. D. Polyopes constrictus (AD, A61546). Habit. E. Polyopes tenuis (AD, A35901). Habit.

Figure 50 image

Figure 50   enlarge

Fig. 50. A, B. Carpopeltis phyllophora (A, MELU, A38262; B, AD, A46169). A. Transverse section of thallus with cystocarps (Photo: J.A. Lewis). B. Transverse section of thallus with tetrasporangia. C. Carpopeltis elata (AD, A50765). Transverse section of thallus with cystocarps. D, E. Carpopeltis spongeaplexus (D, AD, A51083; E, AD, A34162). D. Transverse section of thallus with cystocarps. E. Transverse section of thallus with tetrasporangia. F, G. Polyopes constrictus (F, AD, A7010; G, AD, A41752). F. Transverse section with auxiliary cell ampullae. G. Longitudinal section of nemathecial thallus with tetrasporangia.

Figure 51 image

Figure 51   enlarge

Fig. 51. A–C. Polyopes constrictus (A, B, AD, A61531; C, AD, A41752). A. Carpogonial branch ampulla. B. Auxiliary cell ampulla. C. Section of cortex with tetrasporangia. D–F. Polyopes tenuis (D, E, AD, A35901, type; F, MELU, A39818). D. Carpogonial branch ampulla. E. Auxiliary cell ampulla. F. Section of cortex with tetrasporangia. G, H. Cryptonemia digitata (G, AD, A50831; H, AD, A21151). G. Carpogonial branch ampulla. H. Section of cortex with tetrasporangia.

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