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Gracilaria preissiana (Sonder) Womersley in Min-Thein & Womersley 1976: 109.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Gracilariales – Family Gracilariaceae

Selected citations: Huisman & Walker 1990: 417. Lewis 1984: 26. Withell et al. 1994: 294, figs 11–13.


Rhodomenia preissiana Sonder 1845: 56; 1848: 191. J. Agardh 1852: 622.

Rhodophyllis preissiana (Sonder) Kützing 1849: 786. Sonder 1871: 62(?).

Calliblepharis preissiana (Sonder) Harvey 1859a: pl. 106. Sonder 1881: 22.

Calliblepharis pannosa Harvey 1855a: 550. J. Agardh 1876: 434.

Gracilaria pannosa (Harvey) J. Agardh 1885: 62. De Toni 1900b: 450. Lewis 1984: 26. May 1948: 44, pl. 10 fig. 1; 1965: 392.

Thallus (Fig. 2A) medium to dark red-brown, fading to grey-red, 3–10 (–24) cm high, irregularly and profusely but essentially complanately branched, often proliferous from the margins, lower branches flat, 2–4 (–5) mm broad and 300–700 µm thick, upper branches compressed, 200–500 µm broad and 200–300 µm thick. Holdfast discoid or divided, 2–5 mm across, with one to several fronds from short stipes; epilithic or on calcareous substrates. Structure apparently multiaxial, pseudoparenchymatous throughout (Fig. 2B), with a cortex 2–3 cells thick, outer cells 5–8 (–14) µm in diameter and L/D 1–1.5, changing fairly abruptly to the medulla 4–8 cells broad, cells subspherical to ovoid, 50–180 µm in diameter, walls 4–8 µm thick; refractive cells (gland like) often present in the cortex. Rhodoplasts discoid, in chains in medullary cells.

Reproduction: Gametangial thalli dioecious or monoecious. Carpogonial branches 2-celled. Carposporophytes (Fig. 2D) with a basal mass of gonimoblast cells and upper gonimoblast filaments producing short chains of ovoid carposporangia maturing terminally, 12–22 µm in diameter, with occasional traversing nutritive filaments; such filaments fuse with several pericarp cells forming elongate, darkly staining, fused filaments (Fig. 2D, arrow) with lateral projections derived from lateral pit-connections, found mainly on the sides and base of the carposporophyte. Cystocarps (Fig. 2C) ovoid, 1–2 mm across, slightly basally constricted; pericarp massive, with anticlinal filaments of cells 10–20 µm across with numerous lateral pit-connections and with a prominent ostiole; inner pericarp absent. Spermatangia in deep lobed pits (Fig. 2E) 115–200 µm broad and 100–250 µm deep, with a small opening.

Tetrasporangia sparsely scattered in the cortex, basally pit-connected to inner cortical cells, ovoid, 30–45 µm long and 15–22 (–30) µm in diameter, cruciately divided.

Type from "Occid. Nov. Holl." (Preiss); lectotype (Womersley in Min-Thein & Womersley 1976, p. 109) with Sonder's drawings in MEL, 45104 (with fragments under 44988).

Selected specimens: Pelsaert Group, Houtman Abrolhos, 20–24 m deep (Kraft 8608 & Huisman, 14.x.1990; MELU, 40691). Champion Bay, W. Aust. (Alg. Muell.; MEL, 44990). Point Leander reef, Port Denison, W. Aust., upper sublittoral pool sides (Kraft, 14.xii.1971; AD, A41233). Point Phillip, Rottnest I., W. Aust.. 7 m deep (Borowitzka, 6.xii.1984; AD, A56649). Garden I., W. Aust., upper sublittoral on reef (Mitchell, 21.ix.1966; AD, A31207). Cowaramup Bay, W. Aust., 2–3 m deep (Clarke & Engler, 1.ix.1979; AD, A50649). Scott Bay (6 km W of Fowler Bay), S. Aust., shaded pools (Womersley, 27.i.1951; AD, A13843). Wittelbee Point (near Ceduna), S. Aust., upper sublittoral (Womersley, 22.i.1951; AD, A13605 and A15150).

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

Distribution: Houtman Abrolhos and Champion Bay, W. Aust., to Wittelbee Point, S. Aust. Also recorded from Cape York, Qld, by Sonder (1871).

Taxonomic notes: G. preissiana is a western species reaching to Wittelbee Point, near Ceduna, in South Australia, where it was common just below low tide level.

The lectotype in TCD of G. pannosa, from King George Sound, W. Aust. (Harvey, Tray. Set 98) is identical with R. preissiana Sonder.

Sonder's (1871) record of Rhodophyllis preissiana from Cape York, Qld (Daemel) is in MEL (45106) and is doubtfully G. preissiana.


AGARDH, J.G. (1852). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 2, Part 2, pp. 337–720. (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. (1885). Till algernes systematik. VII. Florideae. Acta Univ. lund. 21, 1–120, Plate 1.

DE TONI, G.B. (1900b). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 2, pp. 387–776. (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. (1859a). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 2, Plates 61–120. (Reeve: London.)

HUISMAN, J.M. & WALKER, D.I. (1990). A catalogue of the marine plants of Rottnest Island, Western Australia, with notes on their distribution and biogeography. Kingia 1, 349–459.

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

LEWIS, J.A. (1984). Checklist and bibliography of benthic marine macroalgae recorded from northern Australia. I. Rhodophyta. Dept. Defence, Materials Res. Lab., Melbourne, Vic. Report MRL-R-912.

MAY, V. (1948). The algal genus Gracilaria in Australia. C.S.I.R.O. Bull. 235. pp. 1–64, Plates 1–15.

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.

SONDER, O.G. (1845). Nova Algarum genera et species, quas in itinere ad oras occidentales Novae Hollandiae, collegit L. Preiss, Ph.Dr. Bot. Zeit. 3, 49–57.

SONDER, O.W. (1848). Algae. In Lehmann, C., Plantae Preissianae. Vol. 2, pp. 161–195. (Hamburg.)

SONDER, O.W. (1871). Die Algen des tropischen Australiens. Abh. Nat. Ver. Hamburg 5, 33–74, Plates 1–6.

SONDER, O.W. (1881). In Mueller, F., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae. Supplementum ad volumen undecinum: Algae Australianae hactenus cognitae, pp. 1–42, 105–107. (Melbourne.)

WITHELL, A.F., MILLAR, A.J.K. & KRAFT, G.T. (1994). Taxonomic studies of Gracilaria (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) from Australia. Aust. Syst. Bot. 7, 281–352.

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.

Illustration in Womersley Part IIIA, 1996: FIG. 2.

Figure 2 image

Figure 2   enlarge

Fig. 2. Gracilaria preissiana (A, AD, A13605; B, AD, A13843; C–E, AD, A41233). A. Habit. B. Transverse section of thallus. C. Section of cystocarp. D. Section of carposporophyte with traversing nutritive cells (arrow). E. Transverse section of male thallus with elongate spermatangial pits.

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