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Electronic Flora of South Australia Genus Fact Sheet

Genus CHAMPIA Desvaux 1809: 245

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Rhodymeniales – Family Champiaceae

Thallus erect or decumbent, some species iridescent, much branched, branches terete to compressed, with regular hollow segments throughout with transverse diaphragms, not or slightly constricted at diaphragms; holdfast discoid or stoloniferous with haptera. Structure multiaxial, with a group of apical cells, producing longitudinal filaments bearing secretory cells, and developing outwardly a large-celled cortex with or without outer layer(s) of smaller cells, and inwardly, at regular intervals, the transverse monostromatic diaphragms.

Reproduction: Gametangial thalli dioecious; procarpic. Carpogonial branches 4-celled, situated on cortical (supporting) cells with a 2-celled auxiliary cell branch; carposporophyte erect, with a basal fusion cell and branched gonimoblast filaments bearing terminal carposporangia; basal nutritive tissue absent or slight, inner cells of pericarp becoming stellate and separating. Cystocarps external, globular to urceolate, pericarp 2–6 (–10) cells thick, ostiolate. Spermatangia in surface sori, cut off from rows of initials developed from the small outer cortical cells.

Tetrasporangia scattered, transformed from the larger (primary) cortical cells and protruding inwards, tetrahedrally divided.

Life history triphasic, with isomorphic gametophytes and tetrasporophytes.

Holotype species: C. lumbricalis (Linnaeus) Desvaux 1809: 245.

Taxonomic notes: A genus credited with numerous species, many of which need detailed study. The type species, from South Africa, was studied by Reedman & Womersley (1976, p. 76).


DESVAUX, N.A. (1809). Champia Desv. J. de Bot. 1, 245–246.

REEDMAN, D.J. & WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1976). Southern Australian species of Champia and Chylocladia (Rhodyméniales: Rhodophyta). Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 100, 75–104.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (28 June, 1996)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Rhodophyta. Part IIIB. Gracilarialse, Rhodymeniales, Corallinales and Bonnemaisoniales
Reproduced with permission from The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part IIIB 1996, by H.B.S. Womersley. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia.


1. Thallus with longitudinal filaments scattered through the diaphragms as well as peripheral filaments; branches usually linear, not or only slightly constricted at diaphragms


1. Thallus with peripheral longitudinal filaments only; branches usually tapering from base to apices, usually slightly to moderately constricted at diaphragms


2. Branching irregular to verticillate, branches linear, (0.5–) 1–2.5 mm broad

C. viridis

2. Branching more or less opposite to becoming clustered, subdistichous and often fairly regularly pinnate; branches 2–5 mm broad, with a slender stalk

C. insignis

3. Thallus segments obscured except in young branches, with cortical cells becoming covered by an outer cortex 1–3 cells thick; usually epilithic

C. affinis

3. Thallus segments clear throughout most of thallus, with cortical cells cutting off small cells from their corners but not (or only near the thallus base) forming a continuous layer; usually epiphytic on seagrasses


4. Branches 1–2 mm, branchlets 0.5–1 mm in diameter; cortex single-layered with only a few small cells from each cortical cell throughout; usually one complete longitudinal filament cell between diaphragms; ultimate mature branches often with hooked ends

C. zostericola

4. Branches 0.5–1 mm, branchlets 0.3–0.5 mm in diameter; cortex single-layered above, becoming 2–4 cells thick on older axes; usually two complete longitudinal filament cells between diaphragms; ultimate branches rarely hooked

C. parvula

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