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Ceramium lenticulare Womersley 1978: 222, figs 2C, 9.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Ceramieae

Selected citations: Silva et al. 1996: 398.

Thallus (Fig. 181A, B) light to dark red, 0.5–7 cm high, complanately branched, regularly alternate (usually at intervals of 4–5 cells) with one to several narrowly to broadly pyramidal branches from near the base, and small proliferous branchlets on the lower parts of robust specimens (Fig. 181A). Attachment by a tuft of unseriate rhizoids from a single erect (or slightly prostrate) base; epilithic or on solid substrates. Structure. Branches 300–500 (–700) µm in diameter below, terete to slightly compressed, tapering to 75–150 µm in diameter near the apices which are usually more or less straight and taper abruptly (Fig. 181D, E) to the apical cell. Axial cells subspherical throughout (often slightly broader than long), becoming largely corticated near the apices apart from the usual presence of a lenticular internodal space (Figs 181C, 182C) on the surface (complanate view) of the branches, resulting from the cortication closing up on the sides but not the central part of each segment; the lenticular space is usually visible throughout the thallus except in oldest parts where it may close. The terminal acropetal cortical cells are usually smaller than the basipetal ones (Figs 181C, 182C) and tend to lie outside the adjacent basipetal cells when the cortication has largely or completely closed. Periaxial cells 6–7, each cutting off normally two cells (Fig. 182C) both acropetally and basipetally, which continue to produce 1 or 2 derivatives, to form nodes 5–7 cells long (Fig. 182C) in upper parts, 8–9 (or more) cells long in older parts; a slight outer cortex of small cells is cut off and this may become extensive in robust plants with some rosettes around the periaxial cells; inner cortical cells remain isodiametric to ovoid, sometimes elongating in old robust specimens. Rhodoplasts discoid to elongate in small cells, becoming ribbon like in axial cells.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Carposporophytes (Fig. 181D) 150–350 µm across, subspherical, with 2–4 moderately stout branches forming an involucre; carposporangia ovoid to angular, 15–25 µm across. Spermatangia forming patches, especially on the sides of branches, later becoming largely confluent.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 181E, F) in several successive segments near the ends of the branches or in short stichidiose proliferous laterals (Fig. 181F), formed first in the plane of branching but soon becoming whorled, situated largely within the cortex or covered by involucral filaments of cells, subspherical to ovoid, 20–35 µm in diameter, decussately or tetrahedrally divided.

Type from Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 1–5m deep on jetty pile (Kraft, 19.i.1974); holotype in AD, A45063.

Selected specimens: Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., shaded end of eulittoral pool, S side Ellen Point (Womersley, 29.x.1966; AD, A30855). Apollo Bay, Vic., on pipeline in dock, 0–0.5m deep (Owen & Kraft, 1.ix.1971; AD, A39505). Dead Mans I., Port Arthur, Tas., on Callophyllis, 9–14m deep (McCauley, 2.iii.1990; AD, A60487). Probably also King I., Bass Strait, and Derwent Estuary, Tas., in N.S.W. (see Womersley 1978, p. 223).

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

Distribution: Known from Vivonne Bay, S. Aust., Apollo Bay, Vic., and SE Tasmania. South Africa ? (Stegenga & Bolton 1992, p. 104).

Taxonomic notes: C. lenticulare is characterised by its complanate habit with regularly alternate branching, by the cortication and resultant lenticular intemodal space, and by the stichidiose tetrasporangial branches. C. lenticulare is closely related to C. excellens, as discussed under the latter species.


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. & BOLTON, J.J. (1992). Ceramiaceae (Rhodophyta) of the Cape Province, South Africa: distribution in relation to concepts of marine provinces. Bot. Mar 35, 99–107.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1978). Southern Australian species of Ceramium Roth (Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res. 29, 205–257.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

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 181, 182C.

Figure 181 image

Figure 181   enlarge

Fig. 181. Ceramium lenticulare (A, AD, A39505; B, AD, A30855; C–F, AD, A45063). A. Habit of robust specimens. B. Habit of slender specimen. C. Branch showing lenticular internodal spaces. D. Upper branches with carposporophyte. E. Upper branches with abaxial or opposite tetrasporangia. F. Proliferous stichidiose tetrasporangial branches. (All as in Womersley 1978, courtesy of Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res.)

Figure 182 image

Figure 182   enlarge

Fig. 182. A. Ceramium rubrum (AD, A47024). Part of a branch 19-21 segments from apex, showing "dovetailing" of cortical cell filaments giving complete cortication. B. Ceramium pusillum (AD, A33116). Part of a branch 21-24 segments from apex, showing slight internodal spaces between nodal cortication. C. Ceramium lenticulare (AD, A45063). Segments of a branch showing cortical cell lineages and lenticular internodal spaces. D. Ceramium excellens (AD, A38371). Nodal cortication showing cortical cell lineages and internodal space. E. Ceramium tasmanicum (AD, A42758). Young nodal cortication showing cell lineages. (All as in Womersley 1978, courtesy of Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res.)

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