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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Episporium centroceratis Moebius 1885: 77, p1. vii.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Ceramieae

Selected citations: Askenay 1888: 41. De Toni 1903: 1506; 1924: 526. G. Feldmann 1947: 179. Kylin 1956: 557. Lucas 1909: 53. May1965: 360. Millar & Kraft 1993: 40. Pocock 1956: 13, figs 1, 2, pl. 1 figs C-J. Schmitz & Hauptfleisch 1897: 503. Seagrief 1988: 70, fig. 5.17. Silva et al. 1996: 408.

Thallus minute, hemispherical to globular, 300–500 µm across, supported on a relatively large basal cell, pale in colour; parasitic on Centroceras. Structure. Basal cells attached to host cells, elongate, becoming 20–35 µm in diameter at upper broader end and L/D 2–3, with several branches of cells from the upper end compacted to form the globular thallus; lower cells ovoid, 10–15 µm in diameter and L/D 1–1.5, decreasing to terminal cells 6–8 µm in diameter and L/D 2–3. Cells uninucleate; plastids absent.

Reproduction: Gametophytes monoecious or dioecious. Carpogonial branches (Fig. 193C) borne on outer filaments, 2 (–4) cells long, the carpogonium conical with a long trichogyne, the hypogynous cell elongate, with or without shorter lower cells. Carposporophytes (Pocock 1956; not seen in Wanna collection) hemispherical, slightly projecting on the thallus surface, with a relatively large fusion cell. Spermatangia (Fig. 193D) terminal on outer cells, ovoid, 2.5–3 (–4) µm in diameter.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 193E) terminal on filaments, ovoid, 10–15 µm in diameter, cruciately or decussately divided.

Type from Dirk Hartog I., W. Aust. (Nauman); in B?.

Selected specimens: Wanna, S. Aust., on Centroceras at low tide level (Womersley, 13.ii.1994; AD, A63366).

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

Distribution: NW Australia, Lord Howe I, South Africa.

In southern Australia, only known from Wanna, South Australia.

Taxonomic notes: Episporium centroceratis is an inconspicuous species, as discussed by Pocock (1956, p. 14), and has only once been collected on southern Australian coasts. Schmitz (1889, p. 452), followed by Schmitz & Hauptfleisch (1897, p. 503) placed it in its own tribe, the Episporieae, in the Ceramiaceae, and Pocock (1956) tentatively accepted this, though some authors (e.g. G. Feldmann 1947) considered it more likely to belong to an order such as the Gigartinales.

While the structure and reproduction are reasonably well known from the account of Pocock, these are not easily interpreted in relation to other Ceramiaceae or earlier orders of Rhodophyta.


These two genera cannot be placed satisfactorily. The first, Perischelia, while distinctive morphologically, is unknown reproductively; it agrees with the Ceramiaceae. The sceond, Episporium, has been placed in its own tribe (Episporieae) in the Ceramiaceae, but it is doubtful if it belongs to this family.

In both cases, the species are the only ones in the genus, so the specific description suffices for the genus.

There are also other undescribed taxa represented in AD by inadequate and usually non-reproductive specimens, which await description when better material is available.


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

DE TONI, G.B. (1924). Sylloge Algarum omnium hucusque Cognitarum. Vol. 6. Florideae. (Padua.)

FELDMANN, G. (1947). Contribution a l'etude des Céramiacées. Bull. Soc. bot. Fr. 94, 176–179.

KYLIN, H. (1956). Die Gattungen der Rhodophyceen. (Gleerups: Lund.)

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

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.

MOEBIUS, M. (1885). Ueber eine neue epiphytische Floridée. Ber. Deutsche Bot. Gesellschaft 3, 77–80, Plate VII.

POCOCK, M.A. (1956). South African parasitic Florideae and their hosts 3. Four minute parasitic Florideae. Proc. Linn. Soc. London 167, 11–41, Plates 1–6.

SCHMITZ, F. & HAUPTFLEISCH, P. (1897). Ceramiaceae. In Engler, A. & Prantl, K., Die natarlichen Pflanzenfamilien, Vol. 1, Part 2, pp. 481–504. (Leipzig.)

SCHMITZ, F. (1889). Systematische Ubersicht der bisher bekannten Gattungen der Florideen. Flora, Jena 72, 435–456, Plate 21.

SEAGRIEF, S.C. (1988). Marine Algae. In Lubke, R.A., Gess, F.W. & Bruton, M.N. (Eds) A Field Guide to the Eastern Cape Coast. Wildlife Society of Southern Africa, pp. 35–72.

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.)

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

Illustration in Womersley Part IIIA, 1998: FIG 193 C–E.

Figure 193 image

Figure 193   enlarge

Fig. 193. A, B. Perischelia glomulifera (AD, A60130). A. Branch with determinate branchlets and stalked globular organs. B. Squash of filaments from a globular organ. C-E. Episporium centroceratis (AD, A63366). C. Section of female thallus showing carpogonial branches with trichogynes. D. Squash of a male thallus with terminal spermatangia. E. A young thallus showing the basal cell, branched filament, and terminal decussately divided tetrasporangia.

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