Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Rhodophyllis volans Harvey 1855a: 553; 1862, pl. 216.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Gigartinales – Family Cystocloniaceae

Selected citations: J. Agardh 1876: 363. De Toni 1897: 343. Lucas 1929b: 49. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 165, fig. 37a-f. May 1965: 409. Min-Thein & Womersley 1976: 101, figs 36–38, 63A.

Thallus (Fig. 144A, B) erect to decumbent, 5–10 (–12) cm high, complanately and subdichotomously branched with flat branches (2–) 3–4 (–6) mm broad throughout and 200–400 µm thick, tapering only slightly above, with the margins bearing irregular, spathulate, basally constricted branchlets 2–3 (–5) mm long, together with spiny outgrowths on some older branches, apices broad and rounded but with an apical notch; microscopic vein system (Fig. 144C) visible after staining. Holdfast fibrous; epilithic. Structure uniaxial, with the axial and periaxial filaments enlarging as a pinnate vein system; medulla slight, cortex 1–3 (–4) cells thick, inner cells ovoid and 40–80 µm in diameter, with rosettes (Fig. 144E) fairly distinct, cells 8–12 µm in diameter. Rhodoplasts discoid, becoming ribbon shaped and branched.

Reproduction: Sexual thalli dioecious; procarpic. Carpogonial branches (Fig. 143E) 3-celled, borne on outer cortical cells on the surface of young branches, lying parallel to the surface with reflexed trichogynes, with the adjacent cortex thickening. Post-fertilization events as in R. membranacea, producing a carposporophyte with a central fusion cell, radiating gonimoblast filaments with terminal chains of ovoid carposporangia 18–27 µm in diameter and inner nutritive tissue; cystocarps (Fig. 144D) protruding, on the surface of the proliferations or scattered on the branch surfaces, 400–1200 µm across, non-ostiolate. Spermatangia unknown.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 143F, 144E) scattered in the cortex of young branches, ovoid, 18–26 µm in diameter, zonately divided.

Type from Rottnest I., W. Aust.; lectotype in Herb. Harvey, TCD (Tray. Set 142).

Selected specimens: Champion Bay, W. Aust. ("Alg. Muell."; MEL 44981). Point Peron, W. Aust., drift (Royce 1003, 26.v.1951; AD, A16229 and Gordon, 15.xi.1968; AD, A34257). Nuyts Reef, S. Aust., 30 m deep (Shepherd, 27.iii.1980; AD, A52335). Pearson I., S. Aust., 33 m deep (Shepherd, 7.i.1969; AD, A33670). Elliston, S. Aust., 7–8 m deep (Shepherd, 27.x.1971; AD, A42442). Somerton, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 4.iii.1944; AD, A1627). Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 2.i.1949; AD, A10714). Queenscliff, Vic., drift (Womersley, 8.iv.1959; AD, A22876). Walkerville, Vic., drift (Sinkora A1553, 23.ii.1972; AD, A42322). Low Head, Tas. (Perrin, 24.xi.1949; AD, A16487).

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

Distribution: Champion Bay, W. Aust., to Walkerville, Vic., and the N coast of Tasmania.


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

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

HARVEY, W.H. (1855a). Some account of the marine botany of the colony of Western Australia. Trans. R. Ir. Acad. 22, 525–566.

HARVEY, W.H. (1862). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 4, Plates 181–240. (Reeve: London.)

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

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 143E, F, 144.

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.]

Figure 144 image

Figure 144   enlarge

Fig. 144. Rhodophyllis volans (A, AD, A34257; B, AD, A52335; C–E, AD, A22876). A. Habit of tetrasporangial plant. B. Habit of cystocarpic plant. C. Apex of a branch showing the vein system. D. Cross section of a cystocarp with fusion cell and chains of carposporangia. E. Surface view showing rosettes and tetrasporangia.

Disclaimer Copyright Disclaimer Email Contact:
State Herbarium of South Australia
Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources