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Rhodophyllis multipartita Harvey 1859b: 318.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Gigartinales – Family Cystocloniaceae

Selected citations: De Toni 1897: 346. Kützing 1869: 19, pl. 51a, b. Kylin 1932: 42, pl. 16 fig. 39. Lucas 1929a: 17; 1929b: 49. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 167. May 1965: 409. Min-Thein & Womersley 1976: 97, figs 33–35, 62B.

Thallus (Fig. 142A) more or less erect, medium to dark red-brown to grey-brown, (10–) 20–30 cm high, complanately and subpinnately to subdichotomously branched with flat branches 3–5 mm broad and (100–) 300–600 µm thick, tapering evenly to 1–2 mm broad near the apices, axils rounded, without a visible vein system. Holdfast of branched, slender, fibres; epilithic. Structure uniaxial, axial filament soon obscure, medulla slight or absent, cortex (Fig. 142C) 1 (–3) cells thick with inner cells ovoid, 60–90 µm in diameter; rosettes (Fig. 142B) slight, outer cells 10–20 µm across. Rhodoplasts discoid to elongate, becoming ribbon shaped and branched.

Reproduction: Sexual thalli dioecious; procarpic. Carpogonial branches (Fig. 143A) 3-celled, borne on inner cortical cells on the branch margins, directed slightly inwards with reflexed trichogynes, with the adjacent cortex thickening. Post-fertilization (Fig. 143B) events as in R. membranacea, producing a carposporophyte with a central fusion cell, radiating gonimoblast filaments with terminal chains of ovoid carposporangia 12–30 1 µm in diameter, and inner nutritive tissue; cystocarps (Fig. 142D) marginal, protruding, 450–800 µm in diameter, with a pericarp 3–5 cells thick, non-ostiolate. Spermatangia (Figs 142E, 143C) scattered near branch apices, with rosette cells cutting off 3–4 (–6) initials each of which produces 2–3 ovoid spermatangia.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 143D) scattered in the cortex of young branches, ovoid, 20–38 µm in diameter, zonately divided.

Type from Port Arthur, Tas.; lectotype in Herb. Harvey, TCD (Alg. Aust. Exsicc. 370K).

Selected specimens: Elliston, S. Aust., 7 m deep (Shepherd, 21.x.1970; AD, A37583) and 20 m deep (Shepherd, 14.v.1971; AD, A38699). S of Memory Cove, S. Aust., 40 m deep (Baldock, 2.i.1964; AD, A27353). West I., S. Aust., 20 m deep (Shepherd, 17.viii.1968; AD, A32639). S of Amphitheatre Rock, West I., S. Aust., 13–20 m deep (Baldock, 1 ix.1970; AD, A36911). 1.3 km off Cape Northumberland, S. Aust., 15 m deep (Shepherd, 26.x.1977; AD, A55167). 1.6 km W of Lawrence Rock, Portland, Vic., 24–30 m deep (Owen, 2.ix.1971; AD, A39666). Gabo I., Vic., 18 m deep (Shepherd, 17.ii.1973; AD, A43496). Fluted Cape, Bruny I., Tas., 16 m deep (Shepherd, 10.ii.1972; AD, A41523).

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

Distribution: Elliston, S. Aust., to Gabo I., Vic., and around Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: Rhodophyllis multipartita differs from R. membranacea in the slenderer lower parts, tapering evenly to the apices, with rounded axils; the lower main branching is usually pinnate with upper parts being subdichotomous.


DE TONI, G.B. (1897). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 1, pp. 1–388. (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. (1869). Tabulae Phycologicae. Vol. 19. (Nordhausen.)

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

LUCAS, A.H.S. & PERRIN, F. (1947). The Seaweeds of South Australia. Part 2. The Red Seaweeds. (Govt Printer: Adelaide.)

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1929a). The marine algae of Tasmania. Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasm. 1928, 6–27.

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1929b). A census of the marine algae of South Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 53, 45–53.

MAY, V. (1965). A census and key to the species of Rhodophyceae (red algae) recorded from Australia. Contr. N.S.W. natn. Herb. 3, 349–429.

MIN-THEIN, U. & WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1976). Studies on southern Australian taxa of Solieriaceae, Rhabdoniaceae and Rhodophyllidaceae (Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Bot. 24, 1–166.

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 142, 143 A–D.

Figure 142 image

Figure 142   enlarge

Fig. 142. Rhodophyllis multipartita (AD, A36911). A. Habit. B. Surface view of slight rosettes. C. Transverse section of thallus. D. Section of marginal cystocarp, with fusion cell and chains of carposporangia. E. Surface view of spermatangial sorus.

Figure 143 image

Figure 143   enlarge

Fig. 143. A–D. Rhodophyllis multipartita (A–C, AD, A32639; D, AD, A36911). A. Section of thallus with a carpogonial branch. B. Section of thallus just post-fertilization, with the carpogonium and auxiliary cell fusing, inner nutritive tissue, and adjacent darkly staining cortical cells. C. Section of cortex with spermatangia. D. Transverse section of thallus with tetrasporangia. E, F. Rhodophyllis volans (AD, A22876). E. Longitudinal section of thallus with a carpogonial branch. F. Transverse section of thallus with tetrasporangia. [A–F after Min-Thein & Womersley 1976.]

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