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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Macrothamnion pellucidum (Harvey) Wollaston 1968: 329, fig. 25.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Antithamnieae

Selected citations: Silva et al. 1996: 417.


Spyridia pellucida Harvey 1844: 449.

Callithamnion pellucidum (Harvey) Hooker & Harvey 1847: 412.

Callithamnion mucronatum J. Agardh 1851: 29; 1876: 19. Harvey 1859b: 334; 1863, synop.: liii. Sonder 1881: 10. Tisdall 1898: 502. Wilson 1892: 187.

Antithamnion mucronatum (J. Agardh) Nägeli 1862: 380. De Toni 1903: 1410. De Toni & Forti 1923: 55. Guiler 1952: 97. Lucas 1909: 51; 1929a: 25; 1929b: 52. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 355. Reinbold 1899: 50. Womersley 1950: 179; 1966: 151.

Callithamnion griffithsioides Sonder 1855: 512 (NON Harvey 1860: pl. 160).

Ballia hamulosa J. Agardh 1894a: 120; 1897: 27. De Toni 1903: 1395. Dickinson 1949: 29. Lucas 1909: 51; 1929b: 52. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 352. Reinbold 1897: 60; 1898: 51.

Spyridia nobilis J. Agardh 1899: 113. De Toni 1903: 1432. Lucas 1909: 52.

Thallus (Figs 52C, 53K) medium to dark red-brown, erect, 10–30 cm high, much branched with several axes and long laterals, each axial cell with 3 whorl-branchlets (Fig. 53L), axes corticated by entwined rhizoids over basal parts. Holdfast rhizoidal, 2–10 mm across; epilithic. Structure. Apices densely branched, apical cells 8–10 µm in diameter and L/D 0.6–1, enlarging to 200–400 µm in diameter and L/D 1.5–2 (–3) in mid and lower axial cells. Whorl-branchlets 1–2.5 mm long, simple, basal cell 75–120 (–150) µm in diameter and L/D 0.8–1.2, cells above L/D 2–2.5, tapering to subterminal cells 25–35 µm in diameter and L/D 1–1.5, terminal cells mucronate; some young whorl-branchlets have small, unilateral or opposite, cells (Fig. 53M) with extended curved walls ("hooked spines") on their upper cells, these later lost; gland cells (Figs 53N, O, 54A) borne on special short branches on lower cells of whorl-branchlets, 1 to a few (but up to 14) gland cells on one branch cluster, 25–45 (–70) µm in diameter. Lateral branches arise on basal cells of whorl-branchlets at irregular intervals along the axes. Cells uninucleate when small; rhodoplasts elongate in small cells, becoming ribbon like in larger cells.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Carpogonial branches (Fig. 53P) borne on basal (= supporting) cells of whorl-branchlets on 8–20 successive axial cells. Post-fertilization the auxiliary cell cuts off an upper gonimoblast cell which develops a terminal gonimolobe, and later lateral gonimolobes, 100–500 µm across of ovoid to angular carposporangia 20–25 (–30) µm across; fusions occur between the axial cell, residual supporting cell and the foot cell, and the carposporophyte (Figs 53Q, 54B) is surrounded by longer whorl-branchlets from below. Spermatangia occur terminally on the special tufted branches (Figs 53R, 54C) 70–120 µm across, which also each bear a single gland cell on their basal cells.

Tetrasporangia (Figs 53S, 54D) occur on the special, short, gland cell bearing, branches, sessile, ovoid, 45–55 µm in diameter, decussately or cruciately divided.

Type from Georgetown, Tasmania (Gunn); lectotype in Herb. Harvey, TCD (Gunn 1305).

Selected specimens: Lancelin, W. Aust., 14 m deep (AIMS-NCI, Q66C-2737-Q, 18.10.1989; AD, A59768). Hopetoun, W. Aust., drift (Wollaston, 20.ii.1957; AD, A22157). Twin Rocks, Head of Great Australian Bight, S. Aust., 20–22 m deep (Branden, 19.i.1991; AD, A61138). Wanna, S. Aust., drift (Ricci, 13.0.1994; AD, A63358). Fitzgerald Bay, Point Lowly. S. Aust., 14 m deep (Broaden, 13.ix.1987; AD, A59335). Off Troubridge I., S. Aust., 23 m deep (Shepherd, 4.ii.1969; AD. A33829 - "Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 101). Port Noarlunga, S. Aust., 19 m deep (Branden, 26.iii.1987; AD, A57444). Pennington Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 15.i.1946; AD, A3058 and Wollaston, 11.ii.1956; AD, A20160). Stanley Beach, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 27.i.1957; AD, A20900). Robe, S. Aust., drift (Wollaston, 19.v.1964; AD, A27914 and 17.v.1965; AD, A29278). Port MacDonnell, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 5.041995; AD, A64291). Port Phillip Heads, Vic., 18–23 m deep (Kraft, Saunders & Strachan, 10,v.1995; AD, A66656). Walkerville, Vic., drift (Sinkora A2339,1.041972; AD, A48382). Georgetown, Tas., drift (Skinner, 22.0.1978; AD, A49257). Tesselated Pavement, Eaglehawk Neck, Tas., drift (Gordon, 18.i.1966; AD, A30117). Great Taylor Bay, Bruny I., Tas., 10 in deep (Shepherd, 7.ii.1970; All, A35297).

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

Distribution: Lancelin, W. Aust., to Sorrento, Vic., and around Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: M. pellucidum is usually a deep water species on rough water coasts, but does occur on calmer coasts where there is strong current flow.


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.)

AGARDH, J.G. (1894a). Analecta Algologica. Cont. I. Acta Univ. lund. 29, 1–144, Plates 1, 2.

AGARDH, J.G. (1897). Analecta Algologica. Cont. IV. Acta Univ. lund. 33, 1–106, Plates 1, 2.

AGARDH, J.G. (1899). Analecta Algologica. Cont. V. Acta Univ. lund. 35, 1–160, Plates 1–3.

DE TONI, G.B. & FORTI, A. (1923). Alghe di Australia, Tasmania e Nouva Zelanda. Mein. R. Inst. Veneto Sci., Lett. Arti 29, 1–183, Plates 1–10.

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

DICKINSON, C.I. (1949). Two little known species of Ballia, B. beckeri Schmitz and B. hamulosa Ag. Kew Bull. 1949(1), 29–31.

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.)

HOOKER, J.D. & HARVEY, W.H. (1847). Algae Tasmanicae. Lond. J. Bot. 6, 397–417.

LUCAS, A.H.S. & PERRIN, F. (1947). The Seaweeds of South Australia. Part 2. The Red Seaweeds. (Govt Printer: Adelaide.)

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.

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

NÄGELI, C. (1862). Morphologie und Systematik der Ceramiaceae. Sber K. bayer. Akad. Wiss. Munchen. 1861(2), 297–415, Plate 1.

REINBOLD, T. (1897). Die Algen der Lacepede und Guichen Bay und deren näherer Umgebung (Süd Australien), gesammelt von Dr. A. Engelhart-Kingston. Nuova Notarisia 8, 41–62.

REINBOLD, T. (1898). Die Algen der Lacepede und Guichen Bay (Slid Australien) und deren näherer Umgebung, gesammelt von Dr. A. Engelhart-Kingston. II. Nuova Notarisia 9, 33–54.

REINBOLD, T. (1899). Meeresalgen von Investigator Street (Slid Australien), gesammelt von Miss Nellie Davey (Waltham, Honiton). Hedwigia 38, 39–51.

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. (1855). Algae annis 1852 et 1853 collectae. Linnaea 26, 506–528.

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

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.

WOLLASTON, E.M. (1968).Morphology and taxonomy of southern Australian genera of Crouanieae Schmitz (Ceramiaceae, Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Bot. 16, 217–417.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1950). The marine algae of Kangaroo Island. III. List of Species 1. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 73, 137–197.

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1966). Port Phillip survey, 1957–1963: Algae. Mem. natn. Mus., Vict. No. 27, 133–156.

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

Author: E.M. Wollaston & 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 52C, 53 K–S, 54 A–D.

Figure 52 image

Figure 52   enlarge

Fig. 52. A, B. Acrothamnion preissii (A, AD, A38236; B, AD, A58608). A. Branches with upcurved whorl-branchlets. B. Branch with whorl-branchlets bearing terminal gland cells and tetrasporangia. C. Macrothamnion pellucidum (AD, A63358). Habit. D. Macrothamnion secundum (AD, A20161). Habit. E. Macrothamnion pectenellum (AD, A46233). Habit. F. Macrothamnion acanthophorum (MELU and AD, A66643). Habit.

Figure 53 image

Figure 53   enlarge

Fig. 53. A–J. Acrothaninion preissii (C, D, AD, A3426; others in AD, uncertain). A. Habit, with prostrate and erect axes. B. Axial cells with whorls of major and minor pinnae. C. Axial cell with whorl of 4 equal branchlets (A. arcuatum form). D. Rachis of whorl-branchlet with terminal gland cell (A. arcuatum form). E. Prostrate axis with attachment rhizoids and erect lateral axes. F. Carpogonial branch on basal cell of a pinna. G. Procarps near a branch apex, with a lower young carposporophyte. H. A more mature carposporophyte with a terminal gonimolobe and initial of a lateral gonimolobe. I. Spermatangial clusters on rachis cells. J. Whorl-branchlets with tetrasporangia borne on upward protrusions of rachis cells. K–S. Macrothamnion pellucidum (S, AD, A27914; others in AD, uncertain). K. Branches of thall us. L. Whorl-branchlets with gland cells on short branches. M. End of a whorl-branchlet with short spinous processes. N. Gland cells on small special branches on a whorl-branchlet, with a rhizoid from the basal cell. O. Gland cells on special branches. P. A carpogonial branch on basal cell of a whorl-branchlet. Q. Young carposporophyte with a terminal gonimolobe and fused lower cells. R. Spermatangial cluster (with gland cells). S. Tetrasporangia on branched filaments on a whorl-branchlet. (All as in Wollaston 1968, courtesy of Aust. J. Bot.)

Figure 54 image

Figure 54   enlarge

Fig. 54. A–D. Macrothamnion pellucidum (A, B, D, AD, 27914; C, AD, A3058). A. Gland cells on short branches from whorl-branch cells. B. Carposporophyte terminal on an axis with whorl-branchlets bearing gland cells. C. Whorl-branchlets with spermatangial clusters. D. Short branches bearing tetrasporangia on whorl-branchlets. E–G. Macrothamnion secundum (E, G, AD, A29883, F, AD, A29278). E. Apex of axis with secund whorl-branchlets. F. Spermatangial clusters on whorl-branchlet pinnules. G. Secund whorl-branchlet with gland cells and tetrasporangia.

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