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Dasythamniella superbiens (Harvey) Womersley, comb. nov.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Compsothamnieae


Callithamnion superbiens Harvey 1863, synop.: li. J. Agardh 1876: 48. Sonder 1881: 10.

Lasiothalia? superbiens (Harvey) De Toni 1903: 1421. Lucas 1909: 52.

Thallus (Fig. 132A, B) red-brown, 7–20 (–50) cm high, with long, spreading lateral indeterminate branches for 3–4 orders, all distichously branched, covered with determinate branchlets which are relatively persistent and subdistichously to irregularly branched; lower axes corticated with loose rhizoids which also bear determinate branchlets. Holdfast discoid, rhizoidal, 2–3 mm across; epilithic. Structure. Indeterminate apices (Fig. 132E) with apical cells 4–6 µm in diameter and L/D 1–1.5, dividing by more or less horizontal cross walls (oblique on cells bearing branches), increasing gradually to 200–500 µm in diameter and L/D 1–2 in the lower thallus; corticating rhizoids arising from basal cells of lateral branches, becoming 20–45 µm in diameter with cells L/D 2–4. Determinate branchlets markedly slenderer than older indeterminate branches, 120–300 µm long and branched 4–7 times, unbranched ends 50–180 µm and 4–8 cells long, lower cells 15–25 µm in diameter and L/D 1–2, tapering gradually to cells just below apices 6–9 µm in diameter and L/D 2–3; some determinate branchlets develop into indeterminate branches. Cells multinucleate; rhodoplasts elongate in younger cells, becoming ribbon like in larger cells.

Reproduction: Gametophytes probably dioecious. Procarps (Fig. 132C) on axial cells below the apices but axial filament above often slightly restricted in growth, with 3 periaxial cells, one bearing a 4-celled carpogonial branch and a second developing a short 1–2-celled sterile branch. Carposporophytes (Fig. 132D) with a slight basal, branched, fusion cell and 2–4 successively developed lobes each 150–350 µm across of ovoid carposporangia 10–20 µm across, surrounded by branched involucral branchlets from cells below the carposporophyte. Spermatangia unknown.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 132E) borne on cells of determinate branchlets, sessile, 18–30 µm in diameter, tetrahedrally divided.

Type from Western Port, Vic. (Harvey); lectotype in Herb. Harvey, TCD (Alg. Aust. Exsicc. 506).

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

Distribution: Only known from Western Port, Vic., and Elliston, S. Aust.

Taxonomic notes: Harvey (1863, synop.: li) in his type description cited only "Alg. Exsicc. n. 511 (ex parte)", having listed C. brownianum var. majus also under 511. The lectotype in TCD is numbered 506, the number given in Harvey's 1857 list. MEL has two sheets (504225, 1007342) from Phillip I., Vic., numbered 400 from Harvey's Travelling Set. These are probably isotypes.

D. superbiens is apparently a rare alga, known only from Western Port, where it has not been collected since Harvey, and from Elliston. The occurrence of 3 periaxial cells on the female axis indicates that further comparisons with Compsothamnion are needed, but apparently only a single auxiliary cell occurs.


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

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

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

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

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley and 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

Illustration in Womersley Part IIIA, 1998: FIG. 132.

Figure 132 image

Figure 132   enlarge

Fig. 132. Dasythamniella superbiens (A, MEL, 1007342; B, C, AD, A34951; D, E, AD, A35050). A. Habit of MEL isolectotype. B. Habit. C. Procarp on eighth cell of short branch. D. Carposporophyte. E. Branch with tetrasporangia.

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