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Ceramium puberulum Sonder 1845; 52; 1848: 167: 1853: 676; 1881: 12.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Ceramieae

Selected citations: J. Agardh 1876: 102; 1894: 17. De Toni 1896: 229; 1903: 1452. Dixon 1960a: 345, 347. Guiler 1952: 98. Harvey 1855a: 557; 1859b: 330; 1863, synop.:xlviii. Huisman 1997: 197. Huisman et al. 1990: 96. Huisman & Walker 1990: 422. Kendrick et al. 1990:51. Lucas 1909: 53; 1929a: 26; 1929b: 53. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 367. Mazza 1912: No. 429. Millar & Kraft 1993: 39. Reinbold 1897: 61; 1898: 51; 1899: 51. Silva et al. 1996: 401. Tisdall 1898: 503. Wilson 1892: 185. Womersley 1950: 180; 1978: 216, figs 1E, F, 6.


C. puberulum α crassior J. Agardh 1876: 102.

C. puberulum f. spinosissima Reinbold 1898: 51.

C. monile Hooker & Harvey 1847: 410. J. Agardh 1851: 132. Sonder 1853: 676.

C. monile β crassior J. Agardh 1851: 132.

C. puberulum β monile J. Agardh 1876:102.

Celeceras monile (Hooker & Harvey) Kützing 1849: 684; 1862: 29, pl. 95.

Thallus (Fig. 178A) light red to dark red-brown, erect, 4–10 cm high, much branched irregularly, laterally to subdistichous, sometimes with proliferations from older axes. Attachment by numerous, branched, uniseriate-celled rhizoids originating from the periaxial cells for several segments above the base of the erect axis, descending within the cortex and formimg a compact discoid holdfast; usually epipytic on seagrasses (usually Posidonia but also on Amphibolis). Structure. Branches 0.5–1 mm in diameter near the base, mid parts 100–250 µm, upper parts 45–125 µm in diameter. Axial cells L/D 0.5–2 below, above L/D 1–4. Periaxial cells 7 (–8) each cutting off 2 (–3) smaller cortical cells both acropetally and basipetally (Fig. 177E, F) which further divide to form nodes (6–) 8–12 cells long in upper parts with narrow to distinctly longer internodal spaces, with the nodal cortication extending on older parts to become continuous near the thallus base; many plants show moniliform lower branches due to constriction of axial cells between the nodal cortication. Outer cortex

(Fig. 177F) forming a more or less continuous layer of small cells overlying the larger elongate inner cortical cells. Spines (primary) one to several per node near apices (Fig. 177E, F), 30–40 (–60) µm and up to 4 cells long, usually relatively slender; primary spines usually soon lost but cortex of lower segments becoming covered with numerous short slender secondary spines (1–) 2 (–3) cells long (Fig. 178B) arising from the outer cortical cells; spines which arise near the apices always larger than lower later formed spines; numerous fine hairs up to 250 µm long arising from nodal cortical cells in some plants. Rhodoplasts discoid to elongate in smaller cells, becoming ribbon like in axial cells.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Carposporophytes globular, 150–350 µm across, with ovoid carposporangia 30–55 µm in diameter, borne on upper branches and surrounded by several small, lateral, involucral branchlets. Spermatangia (Fig. 178C) in dense patches covering the nodal cells of upper branches.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 178D, E) at first single per node, later several, cut off from one or more periaxial cells usually abaxially, 50–100 µm in diameter, tetrahedrally to decussately divided, prominent but usually becoming entirely enveloped by small involucral cells (some bearing spines); the several tetrasporangia within the involucre form prominent, often scatterd, enlarged nodes along the branches (Fig. 178D), though less so in young, slender plants (Fig. 178E).

Type from W. Aust. No specimen located in MEL. Isotypes in TCD and LD (20753).

Selected specimens: Dongara, W. Aust. (Smith, Feb. 1944; AD, A2020). Point Peron, W. Aust., upper sublittoral (Mitchell, 22.ix.1966; AD, A30747). Lucky Bay, Cape Le Grand, Esperance, W. Aust., on Posidonia australis, upper sublittoral (Woelkerling, 30.i.1978; AD, A49263). Elliston, S. Aust., on P. sinuosa, 2m deep (Shepherd, 20.x.1970; AD, A37527). Redcliff Point, N Spencer Gulf, S. Aust., on P. australis, 7m deep (Johnson, 5.ii.1975; AD, A47826). Tiparra Reef, S. Aust., on P. sinuosa, 1 m deep (Shepherd, 31.x.1970; AD, A37654). Off Aldinga Reef, S. Aust., on Posidonia, 7m deep (Johnson, 7.vii.1973; AD, A43888). Horseshoe Bay, Port Elliot, S. Aust., on Amphibolis antarctica, sublittoral (M. Lewis, 5.ii.1973; AD, A46417). Muston, American R. inlet, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., on Posidonia australis, 2–3m deep (Kraft et al., 16.iv.1973; AD, A43754). Ironstone Point, E of Penneshaw, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 10–15m deep (Lavers, 12.i.1997; AD, A67014). Robe, S. Aust., on Amphibolis?, (Womersley, 10.ii.1973; AD, A46416). Port Phillip Heads, Vic., drift (Sinkora A1015, 14.ii.1970; AD, A48151). Waratah Bay, Vic., on Amphibolis antarctica, upper sublittoral (Sinkora A2423, 3.iii.1978; AD, A53611). Low Head, Tas., on Posidonia australis, (Perrin, Aug. 1948; AD, A9015). Montagu, NW Tas, (Perrin, March 1950; AD, A16458).

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

Distribution: Shark Bay, W. Aust. (Kendrick et al. 1990, p. 51), around southern Australia to Jervis Bay, N.S.W. (Millar & Kraft 1993, p. 39), and northern Tasmania; one record in BM from Coles Bay, Oyster Bay, east coast of Tasmania (Perrin & Lucas, March 1934 on Zostera).

Taxonomic notes: C. puberulum is a common epiphyte on Posidonia throughout its geographical range and is less frequently found on Amphibolis; it is rare on other hosts. It is characterised by the presence of several spines per segment near the apices and by the virtual covering of small spines on the cortical cells in older parts, though in occasional plants the small spines may be rare or scarcely apparent (probably through loss with age). Kützing's figures (1862, p1. 95b, d) of the rounded tetrasporangial groups were incorrectly interpreted by Dixon (1960a, p. 347) as galls.

The proportions of nodal cortication to internodal space, and the relative size of the axial cells, may differ markedly in young branches, depending in part on whether older parts are present, or new, often proliferous, young branches have developed from older parts. Young plants (less than 5 mm high) on Posidonia in N Spencer Gulf, between February and July, have elongate segments with long internodal spaces and only 1 to a few spines per node; later in the year the older parts enlarge and the cortex extends.


AGARDH, J.G. (1851). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 2, Part 1, I-XII, 1–336 + index. (Gleerup: Lund.)

AGARDH, J.G. (1876). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 3, Part 1- Epicrisis systematic Floridearum, pp. i-vii, 1–724. (Weigel: Leipzig.)

DE TONI, G.B. (1896). Pugillo di alghe Australiane Raccolte all'isola di Flinders. Boll. Soc. Bot. Ital. 1896, 224–231.

DE TONI, G.B. (1903). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 4. Florideae. Sect. 3, pp. 775–1521 + 1523–1525. (Padua.)

DIXON, P.S. (1960a). Studies on marine algae of the British Isles: the genus Ceramium. J. mar biol. Ass. U.K. 39, 331–374.

GUILER, E.R. (1952). The marine algae of Tasmania. Checklist with localities. Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasmania 86, 71–106.

HARVEY, W.H. (1855a). Some account of the marine botany of the colony of Western Australia. Trans. R. Jr. Acad. 22, 525–566.

HARVEY, W.H. (1859b). Algae. In Hooker, J.D., The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage. III. Flora Tasmaniae. Vol. II, pp. 282–343, Plates 185–196. (Reeve: London.)

HARVEY, W.H. (1863). Phycologia Australica. Vol. 5, Plates 241–300, synop., pp. i-lxxiii. (Reeve: London.)

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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.

HUISMAN, J.M. (1997). Marine Benthic Algae of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. In Wells, F.E. (Ed.) The Marine Flora and Fauna of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, pp. 177–237. (W. Aust. Museum: Perth.)

HUISMAN, J.M., KENDRICK, G.A., WALKER, D.I. & COUTÉ, A. (1990). The Marine Algae of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Research in Shark Bay. Report of the France-Australe Bicentenary Expedition Committee, pp. 89–100.

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LUCAS, A.H.S. (1929b). A census of the marine algae of South Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 53, 45–53.

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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.

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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 177E, F, 178.

Figure 177 image

Figure 177   enlarge

Fig. 177. A, B, Ceramium shepherdii (AD, A47850). A. Part of a branch showing periaxial (stippled) and pseudoperiaxial cells, acropetal cortical cells, tapering filaments and tetrasporangia. B. Transverse section of node, showing 6 periaxial cells (stippled), pseudoperiaxial cells and their tapering filaments (dotted), and tapering filaments from acropetal cortical cells (clear). C, D. Ceramium mortacanthum (AD, A42260).C. Spine near branch apex. D. Nodal cortication showing cell lineages from periaxial cells. E, F, Ceramium puberulum (AD, A46416). E. Node near apex of branch with a primary spine. F. Older nodal cortication, with 2 primary spines and several hairs. (All as in Womersley 1978, courtesy of Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res.)

Figure 178 image

Figure 178   enlarge

Fig. 178. Ceramium puberulum (A, AD, A43754; B, AD, A43888; C, D, AD, A46416; E, AD, A47826). A. Habit of plants on Posidonia australis. B. Older axes covered with short secondary spines. C. Branches with spermatangia. D. Branch with abaxially swollen nodes with tetrasporangia. E. Branch of slender form with tetrasporangia. (All as in Womersley 1978, courtesy of Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res.)

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