Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
Identification tools

Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Antithamnionella ternifolia (Hooker & Harvey) Lyle 1922: 350.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Heterothamnieae

Selected citations: Athanasiadis 1996: 128, fig. 61. Maggs & Hommersand 1993: 19, fig. 6.


Callithamnion ternifolium Hooker & Harvey 1845: 272.

Antithamnionella tasmanica Wollaston 1968: 340, fig. 28. Kendrick et al. 1990: 51. Millar & Kraft 1993: 36. Silva et al. 1996: 381. Stegenga 1986:44, pls 11, 12. Stegenga et al. 1997: 387.

Thallus (Fig. 76A, B) medium to dark red-brown, tufted (often dense), with prostrate axes bearing erect axes (Fig. 78A) 4–40 mm high, each axial cell with (2–) 3–4 whorl-branchlets (Figs 76C, E, 78B). Lateral branches mostly every 3–4 axial cells, replacing whorl-branchlets or arising from lower cells of whorl-branchlets (Fig. 78D). Attachment of prostrate axes by single (–3) rhizoids from basal cells of whorl-branchlets, each with terminal digitate haptera (Fig. 78D); epiphytic on various algae, or on solid substrates. Structure. Apical cells 5–6 µm in diameter and L/D 1.5–2, initiating whorl-branchlets 3–7 cells from branch apices, axial cells increasing gradually to 30–75 µm in diameter and L/D 3–5 (–8). Whorl-branchlets overlapping near apices (Fig. 76C, E), separated below, 200–300 µm and 10–15 cells long, simple or with 1 to a few simple branches (Fig. 78C) which are often unilaterally arranged; cells of whorl-branchlets basally unbranched, 12–18 µm in diameter and L/D 1.4–1.8, decreasing gradually to tapering terminal cells 6–9 µm in diameter and L/D 1.5–2.5, with rounded ends; basal cell usually distinctly shorter than next cells (Fig. 77B); gland cells (Fig. 78B) on lower to mid (commonly third or fourth) cells of whorl-branchlets, cut off from subterminal cells, touching only the bearing cell, ovoid, 8–11 µm in diameter. Cells uninucleate; rhodoplasts elongate in smaller cells, becoming ribbon like in axial cells.

Reproduction: Gametophytes usually monoecious. Carpogonial branches (Fig. 78E) borne on the basal cells of short, 2-celled whorl-branchlets several cells below apices, with usually only one at each branch apex; no other whorl-branchlets occur on the fertile axial cell, and the terminal cell of the fertile branchlet is lost during carposporophyte development. Post-fertilization, fusion occurs between the carpogonium and auxiliary cell via a connecting cell, and a terminal gonimolobe develops from the central cell following division of the auxiliary cell, with the axial cell, residual supporting cell and foot cell fusing (Fig. 78F). A terminal and up to 6 lateral, ovoid to elongate, gonimolobes 90–120 µm across develop (Figs 76D, E, 78G), with ovoid carposporangia 10–20 µm in diameter; no involucral branchlets develop (Fig. 76D). Spermatangia (Figs 77A, 78H) commonly occur on carposporophytic plants, with short adaxial clusters on cells of the rachides, the spermatangia cut off terminally.

Tetrasporangia (Figs 76C, 77B, 78I) occur on the upper side of basal and often the second cells of several successive whorl-branchlets on upper branches, sessile, ovoid, 25–35 µm in diameter, subdecussately divided.

Type from St Martin's Cove, Cape Horn, Chile.

Selected specimens: Port Stanvac, S. Aust., epiphytic, 3 m deep on jetty pylons (R. Lewis, 24.ii.1972; AD, A41319). Port Noarlunga, S. Aust., low tide level on outer reef (Ricci, 10.i.1997; AD, A66846). NE of Ballast Head, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., on mussels, 12 m deep (Hone, 13.ii.1997; AD, A66940). Robe, S. Aust., on Ulva on slipway, upper sublittoral (Womersley, 28.x.1996; AD, A66711). Apollo Bay, Vic., on pipeline in harbour, 0–0.5 m deep (Owen, 1.ix.1971; AD, A39525). Crawfish Rock, Westernport Bay, Vic., 2 m deep (Watson, 28.v.1974; AD, A45391). Hebe Reef, off Georgetown, Tas., epiphytic, 6 m deep on hull (Edgar, 22.x.1995; AD, A64795). Rice Beach, Bicheno, Tas., on Corallina, upper sublittoral pools (Wollaston & Mitchell, 2.iii.1964; AD, A28007). Tesselated Pavements, Eaglehawk Neck, Tas., on Corallina, lower eulittoral (Gordon-Mills, 16.ii.1986; AD, A57056).

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

Distribution: South Africa, South America, New Zealand, Macquarie I, Europe.

In southern Australia, from Shark Bay, W. Aust. (Kendrick et al. 1990, p. 51) and from Port Stanvac, S. Aust., to Westernport Bay, Vic., and N and E Tasmania. N.S.W (Millar & Kraft 1993, p. 36).

Taxonomic notes: Athanasiadis (1996, p. 128) has referred A. tasmanica to the older and widely distributed species A. ternifolia. It is probably widespread in calm situations on SE Australian coasts.


ATHANASIADIS, A. (1996). Morphology and classification of the Ceramioideae (Rhodophyta) based on phylogenetic principles. Opera Botanica No. 128, pp. 1–216.

HOOKER, J.D. & HARVEY, W.H. (1845). Algae Antarcticae. Load. J. Bot. 4, 249–276.

KENDRICK, G.A., HUISMAN, J.M. & WALKER, D.I. (1990). Benthic macroalgae of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Bot. Mar 33, 47–54.

LYLE, L. (1922). Antithamnionella, a new genus of algae. J. Bot. Lond. 60, 346–350.

MAGGS, C.A. & HOMMERSAND, M.H. (1993). Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol. 1. Rhodophyta. Part 3A, Ceramiales. (HMSO: London.)

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.

SILVA, P.C., BASSON, P.W. & MOE, R.L. (1996). Catalogue of the Benthic Marine Algae of the Indian Ocean. (University of California Press: Berkeley, Los Angeles & London.)

STEGENGA, H. (1986). The Ceramiaceae (excl. Ceramium) (Rhodophyta) of the South West Cape Province, South Africa. Bibl. Phycol. 74, 1–149.

STEGENGA, H., BOLTON, J.J. & ANDERSON, R.J. (1997). Seaweeds of the South African West Coast. Contributions from the Bolus Herbarium, No. 18.

WOLLASTON, E.M. (1968).Morphology and taxonomy of southern Australian genera of Crouanieae Schmitz (Ceramiaceae, Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Bot. 16, 217–417.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley & E.M. Wollaston

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (24 December, 1998)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Rhodophyta. Part IIIC. Ceramiales – Ceramiaceae, Dasyaceae
©State Herbarium of South Australia, Government of South Australia

Illustrations in Womersley Part IIIA, 1998: FIGS 76, 77A, B, 78 A–I.

Figure 76 image

Figure 76   enlarge

Fig. 76. Antithamnionella ternifolia. (A, D, AD, A28007; B, AD, A66711; C, E, AD, A41319). A. Habit, on Corallina. B. Habit, on Ulva. C. Branches with tetrasporangia. D. Branches with carposporophytes. E. Branches with a carposporophyte.

Figure 77 image

Figure 77   enlarge

Fig. 77. A, B. Antithamnionella ternifolia (A, AD, A64795; B, AD, A41319). A. Branches with spermatangia. B. Branches with tetrasporangia. C–E. Antithamnionella spirographidis (AD, A21324). C. Habit. D. Thallus with carposporophytes. E. Axial cells with whorl-branchlets bearing tetrasporangia.

Figure 78 image

Figure 78   enlarge

Fig. 78. A–I. Antithamnionella ternifolia (AD, A28007). A. Thallus with prostrate and erect axes. B. Axis with whorl-branchlets and gland cells. C. Axial cell with branched whorl-branchlets. D. Axial cell with a whorl-branchlet bearing an attachment rhizoid and a young lateral from the second cell. E. Young apex with a procarp. F. Division of auxiliary cell to produce a young gonimoblast, with fusion of the lower cells. G. Carposporophyte with successive gonimolobes. H. Spermatangial clusters on cells of a whorl-branchlet. I. Tetrasporangia on basal cells of whorl-branchlets. J–S. Antithamnionella spirographidis (J–Q, S, AD, A21324; R, AD, A29888). J. Habit. K. Prostrate and erect branches with opposite whorl-branchlets. L. Branch apex with developing whorl-branchlets. M. Attachment rhizoids on the first or second cells of whorl-branchlets. N. Gland cell on a whorl-branchlet. O. Attachment rhizoid on a basal cell of a whorl-branchlet. P. Carpogonial branch on basal cell of a 2-celled branchlet. Q. A young carposporophyte. R. Spermatangial clusters on lower cells of a whorl-branchlet. S. Branch with tetrasporangia. (All as in Wollaston 1968, courtesy of Aust. J. Bot.)

Disclaimer Copyright Disclaimer Copyright Email Contact:
State Herbarium of South Australia
Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Department for Environment and Water