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Metagoniolithon chara (Lamarck) Ducker 1979: 88, figs 9–14, 15A.

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

Selected citations: Huisman & Walker 1990: 412. Millar & Kraft 1993: 14.


Corallina chara Lamarck 1815: 240. Areschoug 1852: 541. De Toni 1905: 1809.

Amphiroa chara (Lamarck) Decaisne 1842a: 359, pl. 17 fig. 9.

?Corallina gallioides Lamarck 1815: 239. Areschoug 1852: 539.

?Amphiroa gallioides (Lamarck) Blainville 1834: 552.

Amphiroa charoides sensu Kützing 1858: 25, pl. 52 fig. I.

Amphiroa intermedia Harvey 1855a: 547; 1863, synop.: xxx. De Toni 1905: 1820. Sonder 1881: 20.

Amphiroa granifera Harvey 1855a: 547; 1863, synop. xxx. De Toni 1905: 1819. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 394. Sonder 1881: 20. Tisdall 1898: 507.

Metagoniolithon graniferum (Harvey) Weber-van Bosse 1904: 103, pl. 15 figs 10, 12. De Toni 1905: 1861. Manza 1940: 311. May 1965: 356. Segawa 1949: 52.

Amphiroa similis Sonder 1881: 20.

Metagoniolithon gracile (Harvey) Yendo sensu Womersley 1950: 167.

Thallus (Fig. 145A, B) medium red-brown to grey-red, 2–5 cm high, loosely to densely tufted, much branched with mainly synchronous production of even-length intergenicula and resultant even-topped outline, branching di- or trichotomous, occasionally more (–5). Intergenicula terete to slightly compressed, 2–3 (–4) mm long and 400–600 µm in diameter, decreasing to 1–2 mm long and 200–300 µm in diameter above, in larger plants to 7 mm long below and 700–1000 µm in diameter; genicula (Fig. 145C) untiered; apices with a mucilaginous cap 25–75 µm thick. Holdfasts 0.5–2 mm across, >each with one to several fronds; epiphytic on stems of Amphibolis or some larger algae. Structure. Intergenicula of numerous arched medullary tiers 45–70 µm long, cells 9–15 µm in diameter with frequent lateral cell-fusions. Genicula 180–400 µm long. Apical cells slightly separate, without epithallial cells. Cortex present in both intergenicula and genicula, of short splaying to anticlinal filaments (5–) 7–11 µm in diameter, with short epithallial cells and scattered hairs. Rhodoplasts discoid.

Reproduction: Conceptacles uniporate, borne on the surface of the intergenicula. Gametangial thalli dioecious. Carposporangial conceptacles (Fig. 145D) 400–600 (–800) µm in external diameter, each with a thin fusion cell (Fig. 145E, F) bearing marginally up to 15 carposporangia terminating short filaments (Fig. 145F), more or less ovoid and 50–90 µm in diameter. Male conceptacles low, 600–800 µm in external diameter, with spermatangia on initials over the chamber floor, ovoid, 1–2 µm in diameter.

Tetrasporangial conceptacles (Fig. 145G) hemispherical, 600–750 µm in external diameter, each with a ring of 8–11 ovoid tetrasporangia, each 120–200 µm long and 45–110 µm in diameter, zonately divided.

Type from Nouvelle-Hollande (Peron & Lesueur), probably from Rottnest I. (or Shark Bay), W. Aust.; holotype in PC.

Selected specimens: (see also Ducker 1979, p. 94). All on Amphibolis. Flat Rocks, S of Geraldton, W. Aust., drift (Mitchell, 17.ix.1966; AD, A31084). Jacques Point, Kalbarri, W. Aust., uppermost sublittoral (Womersley, 15.ix.1979; AD, A51284 -"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 200). Lady Edeline Beach, Rottnest I., W. Aust., (Ducker, 9.viii.1973; MELU, 21850; AD, A49364). Strickland Bay, Rottnest I., W. Aust., drift (Womersley, 5.ix.1979; AD, A51095). Sarge Bay, Cape Leeuwin, W. Aust., drift (Parsons, 16.xi.1968; AD, A34218). Eucla, W. Aust., drift (Womersley, 2.ii.1954; AD, A19354). W of Tiparra reef, S. Aust., 12 m deep (Shepherd, 27.vii.1970; AD, A35994). Glenelg, S. Aust., 13 m deep (Glover, 18.iv.1961; AD, A24842). Kingscote, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 12.i.1948; AD, A6956). Flinders, Western Port, Vic., drift (Sinkora A842, 16.viii.1970; AD, A62588). San Remo, Vic., drift (Ducker, 1.v.1977; MELU, 22581; AD, A49363).

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

Distribution: Port Denison, W. Aust., to Walkerville, Vic., and on King I., Bass Strait, mainly on Amphibolis. N.S.W. (Millar & Kraft 1993, p. 14).

Taxonomic notes: Ducker (1979, p. 96) described var. dichotomum from Rottnest I., W. Aust., based on the dichotomous (rather than trichotomous) branching. An isotype specimen in AD, A49364 of MELU, 21850 has mostly dichotomous branching but several trichotomies and even a few genicula with 4 branches. Var. dichotomum is considered to be not worth recognising.

Lewis (1984, p. 17), following earlier authors, recorded M. chara from Queensland localities, but these records probably apply to other species.

Ducker (1979, p. 89) included Amphiroa verrucosa Lamouroux as a synonym of M. chara. However, her photograph of the type (Fig. 9C) shows a fragment more like M. stelliferum and A. verrucosa is here referred with doubt to that species rather than M. chara. Other authors (e.g. Areschoug 1852, p. 539) have referred A. verrucosa to M. charoides (= M. radiatum).


ARESCHOUG, J.E. (1852). Ordo XII. Corallineae. In J.G. Agardh, "Species, Genera et Ordines Algarum". Vol. 2, Part 2, pp. 506–576. (Gleerup: Lund.)

BLAINVILLE, H.M.D. de (1834). Manuel d' actinologie ou de zoophytologie. (Levrault: Paris.)

DE TONI, G.B. (1905). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 4, pp. 1523–1973. (Padua.)

DECAISNE, J. (1842a). Essais sur une classification des Algues et des Polypiers calcifères de Lamouroux. Ann. Sci. Nat., 2 Sér. Bot., 17, 297–380, Plates 14–17.

DUCKER, S.C. (1979). The genus Metagoniolithon Weber-van Bosse (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Bot. 27, 67–101.

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. (1863). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 5, Plates 241–300, synop., pp. i-lxxiii. (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. (1858). Tabulae Phycologicae. Vol. 8. (Nordhausen.)

LAMARCK, J.B. (1815). Sur les polypiers corticifères. Mém. Mus. Hist. Nat. (Paris) 2, 76–240.

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.

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

MANZA, A.V. (1940). A revision of the genera of articulated corallines. Philip. J. Sci. 71, 239–316, Plates 1–20.

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.

MILLAR, A.J.K. & KRAFT, G.T. (1993). Catalogue of Marine and Freshwater Red Algae (Rhodophyta) of New South Wales, including Lord Howe Island, South-western Pacific. Aust. Syst. Bot. 6, 1–90.

SEGAWA, S. (1949). Systematic anatomy of the articulated corallines. XII. Metagoniolithon, Arthrocardia, Duthiea. J. Jpn. Bot. 4, 52–57.

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

TISDALL, H.T. (1898). The algae of Victoria. Rep. 7th Meet. Aust. Ass. Adv. Sci., Sydney, 1898, pp. 493–516.

WEBER-VAN BOSSE, A. (1904). Corallineae verae of the Malay Archipelago. In Weber-van Bosse & Foslie, M., The Corallinaceae of the Siboga Expedition. Siboga-Expeditae, Monogr. LXI, pp. 78–110, Plates 14–16. (Leiden.)

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1950). The marine algae of Kangaroo Island. III. List of Species 1. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 73, 137–197.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley & H.W. Johansen

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. 145.

Figure 145 image

Figure 145   enlarge

Fig. 145. Metagoniolithon chara (A, AD, A51095; B, AD, A6956; C, G, AD, A35994; D–F, AD, A34218). A. Habit, well developed plants. B. Habit. C. Longitudinal section of geniculum and intergenicula. D. Branches with carposporangial conceptacles. E. Female conceptacle (without carposporangia). F. Carposporangial conceptacle with fusion cell and carposporangial filament. G. Tetrasporangial conceptacle.

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