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Ceramium tasmanicum (Kützing) Womersley 1978: 226, figs 2E, 11.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Ceramieae

Selected citations: Silva et al. 1996: 404.


Trichoceras tasmanicum Kützing 1849: 680; 1862: 26, pl. 85 a-c. J Agardh 1851: 141. De Toni 1903: 1497.

Ceramium aequabile J. Agardh 1894: 44. De Toni 1903: 1486. Guiler 1952: 98. Lucas 1909: 53; 1929a: 26.

C. diaphanum sensu Harvey 1844: 449; 1859b: 330; 1863, synop.: xlii. Sonder 1881: 12. Tate 1882: 17(?). Tisdall 1898: 503. Wilson 1892: 184.

C. strictum sensu Levring 1946: 224.

Thallus (Fig. 184A) dark red, 1–10 cm high, usually bushy and tufted with several erect axes from the base. Branching usually dense and irregular on all sides, the upper parts subdichotomous in varying planes, usually (especially in plants from rough-water coasts) with frequent small proliferous branchlets from the lower nodes; older branches often torulose due to swollen nodes. Attachment by a tuft of branched, uniseriate-celled rhizoids with occasional multicellular pads, originating from the periaxial and larger cortical cells of the lower 1–5 axial cells; epilithic or epiphytic (mainly on Codium fragile). Structure. Branches (300–) 400–1000 µm in diameter below, 60–100 µm in diameter shortly below apices, tapering gradually (apart from the slender proliferous branchlets on broader older branches) to relatively slender, involute to moderately straight apices. Axial cells L/D 1–1.5 near apices with internodal spaces 0.3–1 times as long as the nodal cortication (Fig. 184E, F); cortication on older branches extending irregularly (Fig. 184B) but usually not closing completely. Periaxial cells (5–) 7–8, each cutting of 2–3 cells acropetally and basipetally (Fig. 182E), which each cut off a further 1–3 cells which continue to divide to form nodes 6–7 cells long near to the apices, usually slightly more developed acropetally than basipetally; cortex extending gradually (Fig. 184B) until in larger branches where extension is more rapid and irregular (usually more so acropetally), with elongate cells, the nodal margins varying from relatively straight (Fig. 184C) to most irregular, but usually maintaining an internodal space. Outer cortex of small cells formed in relatively young nodes (Fig. 184B, C), later covering the whole nodal cortex (except at the margins) as an irregular, loose (especially in prepared mounts and older nodes) layer of small, rounded, widely separated cells, without distinct rosettes except sometimes over the periaxial cells; long slender hairs are usually formed profusely from the terminal acropetal and outer cortical cells of young branches. Rhodoplasts discoid in cortical cells, ribbon shaped and more or less longitudinal in axial cells.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Carposporophytes (Fig. 184D) on upper branches, globular, 100–300 µm across, with 3–6 straight to slightly curved branchlets arising just below them; carposporangia ovoid, 25–35 µm in diameter. Spermatangia (Fig. 184E) covering the nodal cortex of young branchlets, commencing adaxially but soon spreading around the node.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 184F) in whorls of 2–6, arising from the periaxial cells (or immediate cortical derivatives), largely involucrate within the cortex, cruciately divided, subspherical to ovoid, 30–45 µm in diameter.

Type from Tasmania (Gunn 1310, ex Hooker); holotype in L, 938, 303...216.

Selected specimens: Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., reef surface (Kraft, 6.iv.1972;AD, A42420) and shallow pool on Ellen Point (Womersley, 25.x.1995; AD, A64657). Robe, S. Aust., pools (Womersley, 9.x.1972; AD, A42758 -"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 187a), on Codium fragile, upper sublittoral pools (Womersley, 9.x.1972; AD, A42763 -"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 187b) and on slipway reef (Womersley, 8.x.1972; AD, A42783 -"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 187c). Port MacDonnell, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 29.ix.1996; AD, A66627). Apollo Bay, Vic., on Codium fragile, mid eulittoral pools (Womersley, 12.viii.1970; AD, A36024). Cruiser Point, Shoreham, Western Port, Vic., at low tide (Sinkora A1360, 29.x.1971; AD, A48159). Green Point, Marrawah, Tas., on Codium fragile, sublittoral fringe (Bennett, 29.i.1955; AD, A20617). Port Sorell, N Tas., drift (Womersley, 9.xi.1982; AD, A56233). Shelley Beach, Orford, Tas., upper sublittoral (Wollaston, 13.viii.1965; AD, A29598). Satellite I., D'Entrecasteaux Channel, Tas., 15m deep (Shepherd, 17.ii.1972; AD, A41629).

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

Distribution: W. Aust. (Harvey) and from Robe, S. Aust., to Western Port, Vic., and around Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: The branching and nodal cortication, and especially the extending cortex often with an irregular growing margin, are characteristic of C. tasmanicum. Slender and more loosely branched forms, usually from relatively calm water localities, may be superficially similar to C. cliftonianum, but are usually recognisable by the extending cortex on older axes and by the whorls of tetrasporangia if present.

C. tasmanicum is closely related to C. excellens as discussed under the latter species.


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

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

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

HARVEY, W.H. (1844). Algae of Tasmania. Lond. J. Bot. 3, 428–454.

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.)

KÜTZING, F.T. (1849). Species Algarum. (Leipzig.)

KÜTZING, F.T. (1862). Tabulae Phycologicae. Vol 12. (Nordhausen.)

LEVRING, T. (1946). A list of marine algae from Australia and Tasmania. Acta Horti gothoburg 16, 215–227.

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1909). Revised list of the Fucoideae and Florideae of Australia. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 34, 9–60.

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1929a). The marine algae of Tasmania. Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasm. 1928, 6–27.

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.)

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

TATE, R. (1882). A list of the charas, mosses, liverworts, lichens, fungs, and algals of extratropical South Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 4, 5–24.

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

WILSON, J.B. (1892). Catalogue of algae collected at or near Port Phillip Heads and Western Port. Proc. R. Soc. Vict. 4, 157–190.

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 182E, 184.

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.)

Figure 184 image

Figure 184   enlarge

Fig. 184. Ceramium tasmanicum (AD, A42758). A. Habit. B. Cortex of branch showing irregular growth starting to extend. C. Cortex of older branch. D. Carposporophyte with associated branchlets. E. Branches with spermatangia. F. Branches with whorled tetrasporangia. (All as in Womersley 1978, courtesy of Aust. J. Mar. Freshw. Res.)

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