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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Metamastophora flabellata (Sonder) Setchell 1943: 131.

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

Selected citations: Huisman & Walker 1990: 413. Shepherd 1981: 460. Shepherd & Womersley 1970: 133; 1981: 165. Woelkerling 1980a: 201, figs 1–33; 1980b: 227, figs 1–5. Womersley 1953: 38.


Melobesia flabellata Sonder 1845: 55. Sonder 1848: 188.

Mastophora flabellata (Sonder) Harvey 1849: 108. Kützing 1849: 697. Womersley 1950: 167.

Melobesia plana Sonder 1845: 55.

Metamastophora plana (Sonder) Setchell 1943: 133.

Melobesia stelligera Endlicher et Diesing 1845: 290.

Metamastophora stelligera (Endlicher et Diesing)Setchell 1943: 132.

Peyssonelia caulescens Kützing 1849: 694.

Mastophora hypoleuca Harvey 1849: 108, pl. 41 figs 1–3.

Mastophora lamourouxii Decaisne ex Harvey 1849: 108, pl. 41 figs 1–5.

Metamastophora lamourouxii (Decaisne ex Harvey)Setchell 1943: 131.

Lichenella brentii J.E. Gray 1858: 322.

Additional references involving these binomials and further information on synonymy are provided by Woelkerling 1980b.

Thallus normally pinkish to dull red, arborescent, mostly 5–23 cm tall, attached by a basal holdfast that produces 1-several erect stipes with flattened, branched, ribbon like branches that commonly have vein-like thickenings in older portions; branching mostly in one plane, pseudodichotomous to pseudopolychotomous. Structure pseudoparenchymatous with dorsiventral organisation throughout; construction dimerous, consisting of a single layer of branched, laterally cohering, filaments occurring ventrally in younger portions but internally in older portions, each composed of palisade cells (10–) 15–40 (–46) µm long and (30–) 35–85 µm high, and additionally of epithallial cells or of filaments terminating in epithallial cells and composed of cells that arise dorsally and in older portions ventrally and more or less perpendicularly from most cells of the unistratose palisade layer and are mostly 5–20 µm in diameter and 19–85 (–109) µm long; epithallial cells 11–49 µm in diameter and (8–) 11–25 µm long with distal walls rounded or flattened but not flared; cells of adjacent filaments joined by cell fusions, secondary pit-connections very occasional in older parts of thalli; haustoria unknown; trichocytes uncommon, occurring singly or in horizontal rows or fields.

Reproduction: Vegetative reproduction unknown. Gametangia, carposporangia and tetrasporangia produced in uniporate conceptacles; gametangia and carposporangia formed on thalli separate to those bearing tetrasporangia, conceptacles borne only on dorsal surface of branches. Bisporangia unknown.

Gametangial thalli dioecious or rarely monoecious. Carpogonia terminating 2- or 3-celled filaments arising from the female conceptacle chamber floor. Mature female carposporangial conceptacle roofs normally dome-like, protruding above surrounding thallus surface, 110–160 µm thick, composed of 3–6 layers of cells above the chamber, conceptacle chambers 760–1075 µm in diameter and 145–435 µm high. Carposporophytes developing within female conceptacles after karyogamy, composed of a conspicuous central fusion cell and several-celled gonimoblast filaments bearing terminal carposporangia 110–190 µm in diameter. Spermatangial filaments unbranched, borne across the male conceptacle chamber floor, mature male conceptacle roofs dome-like or more commonly rostrate, protruding above surrounding thallus surface, 370–960 µm thick, composed of 13–26 layers of cells above the chamber, male conceptacle chambers 850–950 µm in diameter and 200–370 µm high excluding the pore canal 900–1500 (–2000) µm long.

Tetrasporangial conceptacle roofs dome-like, protruding above surrounding surface, 110–260 µm thick above the chamber and composed of 3–7 layers of cells, pore canals lined by cells that are orientated more or less parallel to the roof surface and protrude slightly into the canal, conceptacle chambers 625–900 (–1000) µm in diameter and 230–510 µm high; tetrasporangia peripheral to a central columella, each mature sporangium 90–240 µm in diameter and 175–340 µm long, containing zonately arranged tetraspores.

Type from W. Aust.; lectotype in MEL (516739), designated by Woelkerling (1980b: 238), depicted in Woelkerling (1980b, fig. 1).

Selected specimens: Kalbarri, W. Aust., 2–3 m deep (Woelkerling, 22.ii.1978; LTB, 11081, 12703). Flat Rocks (N of Dongara), W. Aust., drift (Woelkerling, 25.ii.1978; LTB, 10426). Cape Vlaming, Rottnest I., W. Aust., 0–3 m deep (Woelkerling, 8.ii.1978; LTB, 10457). Israelite Bay, W. Aust., drift (Wells, 10.xii.1974; AD, A46086). Twilight Cove, W. Aust., 1–3 m deep (Woelkerling, Platt & Jones, 2.ii.1984; LTB, 14048). Eucla, W. Aust., drift (Womersley, 2.ii.1954; AD, A19351). Point Sinclair, S. Aust., upper sublittoral, shaded (Womersley, 9.ii.1954; AD, A19600). Pearson I., S. Aust., 48 m deep (Shepherd, 9.i.1969; AD, A33722). Pondalowie Bay, S. Aust., 5–8 m deep (Shepherd, 14.iv.1963; AD, A26603). Young Rocks, S of Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 16–30 m deep (Branden, 18.vi.1991; AD, A61456). Toad Head, West I., S. Aust., 13 m deep (Shepherd, 24.x.1966; AD, A31553). Robe, S. Aust., shaded pool (Womersley, 27.viii.1949; AD, A11076). Beachport, S. Aust., 3–6 m deep (Campbell & Penrose, 26.ii.1988; LTB, 15688). Lady Julia Percy I., Vic., 3–6 m deep (Shepherd, 4.i.1968; AD, A32438). Peterborough, Vic., drift (Womersley, 17.viii.1949; AD, Al2158). Point Roadknight, Vic., drift (Sinkora, 29.xi.1971; MEL, 516787 = AD, A43184). Point Lonsdale, Vic. (Hallam, 24.ii.1965; MELU, 2079). Cape Patterson, Vic., drift (MacRaild, 18.v.1972; MELU, 21423). Waterloo Bay, Wilsons Prom., Vic., 10 m deep (Leach, 21.x.1977; LTB, 10264). Currie, King I., Tas., upper sublittoral (King, 29.v.1971; MELU, 20994).

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

Distribution: Southern Africa. Woelkerling (1980b: 239) summarises incorrect and questionable records from elsewhere.

In Australia, Kalbarri, W. Aust., to Waterloo Bay, Wilsons Prom., Vic. and from Currie, King I., Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: Metamastophora flabellata has been found on rock in intertidal pools and to depths of 48 m in southern Australia. At Rottnest I., W. Aust., dense populations dominate the flora of many subtidal vertical rock faces, and often tetrasporangial and gametangial thalli occur intermixed, although male thalli are far less common than either female-carposporangial or tetrasporangial thalli.


GRAY, J.E. (1858). On Charadella and Lichenella, new forms of polyzoa from Australia. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 26, 319–322.

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.)

SETCHELL, W.A. (1943). Mastophora and the Mastophoreae: Genus and subfamily of Corallinaceae. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. Washington 29, 127–135.

SHEPHERD, S.A. & WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1970). The sublittoral ecology of West Island, South Australia: I. Environmental Features and algal ecology. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 94, 105–137, pl. 1.

SHEPHERD, S.A. & WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1981). The algal and seagrass ecology of Waterloo Bay, South Australia. Aquat. Bot. 11, 305–371.

SHEPHERD, S.A. (1981). Ecological strategies in a deepwater red algal community. Botanica Mar. 24, 457–463.

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.)

WOELKERLING, W.J. (1980a). Studies on Metamastophora (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta). I. M. flabellata (Sonder) Setchell: morphology and anatomy. Br. phycol. J. 15, 201–225.

WOELKERLING, W.J. (1980b). Studies on Metamastophora (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta). II. Systematics and Distribution. Br. phycol. J. 15, 227–245.

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

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1953). The Archipelago of the Recherche. 3b. Marine Algae. Aust. Geogr. Soc. Rep. No. 1, Part 3B, pp. 36–38.

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

Author: W.J. Woelkerling (with some genera by D.L. Penrose)

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.

Illustrations in Womersley Part IIIA, 1996: FIGS 108–110.

Figure 108 image

Figure 108   enlarge

Fig. 108. Metamastophora flabellata (A, C, LTB, 10457; B, LTB, 14048). A. Arborescent thallus with holdfast (H), stipes (arrow-S) and expanded, flattened, ribbon like branches. B. Longitudinal section of branch tip showing a unistratose ventral layer of palisade cells each bearing a unicellular filament (epithallial cell) dorsally. Note that cell fusions are not evident between cells of the same filament. C. Section of older portion of a branch and stipe. Note how palisade layer (arrow) has become internal and branches have become a number of cells thick.

Figure 110 image

Figure 110   enlarge

Fig. 110. Metamastophora flabellata (LTB, 10457). A. Section of part of a female-carposporangial conceptacle with mature carpogonial filaments. B. Section of part of a female-carposporangial conceptacle with mature carposporophyte. C. Section of part of male conceptacle with unbranched spermatangial filaments arising from chamber floor.

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