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Lithothamnion indicum Foslie 1907a: 7.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Class Florideophyceae – Order Corallinales – Family Corallinaceae – Subfamily Melobesioideae

Selected citations: Adey & Lebednik 1967: 58. De Toni 1924: 640. Foslie 1907c: 99; 1907d: 183. Lemoine 1930: 42, pl. 3 fig. 1, text fig. 3. Printz 1929: 42, pl. 13 figs 20–25 (as f. typica). Wilks & Woelkerling 1995: 558, figs 7–12. Woelkerling 1993: 125.


Lithothamnion fruticulosum f. confinis Foslie 1904b: 4. Woelkerling 1993: 58.

Thallus normally pinkish to gray-pink, warty to lumpy or fruticose, unattached and forming rhodoliths mostly 25–100 mm in greatest dimension; protuberant branches, simple or branched, free from one another or fused to varying degrees, mostly 2–12 mm in diameter and 2–10 mm long. Structure pseudoparenchymatous; organisation dorsiventral in crustose portions but radial in protuberant branches; construction monomerous, consisting of a single system of branched, laterally cohering, filaments that collectively contribute to a ventrally or centrally situated core and a peripheral region where portions of core filaments or their derivatives curve outwards towards the thallus surface, filaments with cells 2–20 µm in diameter and 2–40 µm long; epithallial cells 2–5 µm in diameter and 2–10 µm long, terminating most filaments at the thallus surface, with distal walls flattened and flared; cell elongation occurring mainly within actively dividing subepithallial initials that are mostly as long as or longer than their immediate inward derivatives; cells of adjacent filaments joined by cell-fusions; secondary pit-connections, haustoria and trichocytes unknown.

Reproduction: Vegetative reproduction by thallus fragmentation. Gametangia and carposporophytes unknown; tetrasporangia produced in multiporate conceptacles. Bisporangia unknown.

Tetrasporangial conceptacle roofs flush with or protruding above surrounding surface, 3–8 cells thick above the chamber, pitted with surface depressions resulting from the degeneration of the uppermost cells of filaments surrounding the pore canals; pore canals normally lined by filaments that differ in appearance from other roof filaments and are each composed of a squat to flattened cell subtended by 1–2 more elongate cells; conceptacle chambers 450–600 µm in diameter and 150–170 µm high; tetrasporangia scattered across the conceptacle chamber floor, each mature sporangium 40–80 µm in diameter and 80–100 µm long, containing zonately arranged tetraspores and possessing an apical plug that blocks a roof pore prior to spore release.

Type from Corner Inlet, Victoria; lectotype in TRH (unnumbered, includes slides 444 and 445); designated by Woelkerling (1993, p. 125); depicted in Foslie (1904c, pl. 1 fig. 7, as Lithothamnion fruticulosum f. crassiuscula), Printz (1929, pl. 13 fig. 20) and Wilks & Woelkerling (1995, fig. 7).

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

Distribution: Port Phillip Heads, Western Port and Corner Inlet, Victoria.

Taxonomic notes: Lithothamnion indicum has been found at depths of 5–20 m as unattached and completely free-living rhodoliths. The presence of flattened and flared epithallial cells and multiporate tetrasporangial conceptacles clearly ally this species with Lithothamnion, but epigenous thalli are not known, gametangial and carposporangial thalli have not been observed, and further studies obviously are needed when additional material becomes available.

Records of this species from Mexico (Taylor 1945, p. 173) are unconfirmed and may be incorrect. Dawson (1960b, pp. 13–15) treated L. indicum as a synonym of lithothamnion fruticulosum (Foslie) Kützing', but the type of Kützing's taxon belongs to Spongites, and the correct name for the taxon to which Kützing's epithet fruticulosum has been misapplied has not been determined (Woelkerling 1985, pp. 135–139). Except for the type, the identities of specimens in TRH listed as Lithothamnion indicum (Adey & Lebednik 1967, p. 58) also require confirmation.


ADEY, W.H. & LEBEDNIK, P.A. (1967). Catalog of the Foslie Herbarium. (Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskab Museet: Trondheim, Norway.)

DAWSON, E.Y. (1960b). Marine red algae of Pacific Mexico. Part 3. Cryptonemiales, Corallinaceae, subf. Melobesioideae. Pacif. Nat. 2, 3–125.

DE TONI, G.B. (1924). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 6. Florideae. (Padua.)

FOSLIE, M. (1904b). Algologiske notiser. K. norske Vidensk. Selsk. Skr. 1904(2), 1–9.

FOSLIE, M. (1904c). Die Lithothamnien des Adriatischen Meeres and Marokkos. Wiss. Meeresunters., Abt, Helgoland, N. F. 7(1), 1–40, Plates 1–3. Note: issued as an offprint without change in pagination in 1904; journal version was published in 1905.

FOSLIE, M. (1907a). Algologiske notiser. III. K. norske Vidensk. Selsk. Skr. 1906(8), 1–34.

FOSLIE, M. (1907c). The lithothamnia of the Percy Sladen Trust Expedition, in H.M.S. Sealark. Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond., Bot., Ser. 2, 7, 93–108, Plates 15, 16. Note: identical in content to Foslie 1907d.

FOSLIE, M. (1907d). The lithothamnia of the Percy Sladen Trust Expedition, in H.M.S. Sealark. Trans. linn Soc. lond., Zool., Ser. 2, 12, 177–192, pls 19–20. Note: identical in content to Foslie 1907c.

LEMOINE, M.(Mme P.) (1930). Les Corallinacées de l'archipel des Galapagos et du Golfe de Panama. Arch. Mus. Nat. Hist. Nat., Paris, Ser. 6, 4, 37–88, Plates 1–4.

PRINTZ, H. (1929). M. Foslie — &lsquot;Contributions to a Monograph of the Lithothamnia&rsquot;. K. Norske Vidensk. Selsk. Skr. Museet, Trondhjem. 60 pp. 75 Plates.

TAYLOR, W.R. (1945). Pacific marine algae of the Allan Hancock expeditions to the Galapagos Islands. Allan Hancock Pacif Exped. 12, 1–528.

WILKS, K.M. & WOELKERLING, W.J. (1995). An account of southern Australian species of Lithothamnion (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta). Aust. Syst. Bot. 8, 549–583.

WOELKERLING, W.J. (1985). A taxonomic reassessment of Spongites (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta) based on studies of Kützing's original collections. Br. phycol. J. 20, 123–153.

WOELKERLING, Wm.J. (1993). Type collections of Corallinales (Rhodophyta) in the Foslie Herbarium (TRH). Gunneria 67, 1–289.

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

Author: W.J. Woelkerling

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. 75.

Figure 75 image

Figure 75   enlarge

Fig. 75. Lithothamnion indicum (A–E, LTB, 12729). A. Fruticose thallus forming a rhodolith. B. Surface view of tetrasporangial conceptacles. C. Surface view of tetrasporangial conceptacle roof pitted with depressions around pore canals. D. Portion of tetrasporangial conceptacle roof with pore canals and bordering filaments whose cells differ somewhat in shape from other roof filaments. E. Section of mature tetrasporangial conceptacle.

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