Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
Identification tools

Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Spongoclonium conspicuum Sonder 1855: 515.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Spongoclonieae

Selected citations: J. Agardh 1892: 40. Kylin 1956: 384. Lucas 1927: 463. Schmitz 1889: 450. Schmitz & Hauptfleisch 1897: 492. Silva et al. 1996: 425. Wollaston 1990: 19, figs 1–23,26.


Callithamnion conspicuum (Sonder) Harvey 1859b: 335; 1863, synop.: li. J. Agardh 1876: 45. Sonder 1881: 10.

Callithamnion tingens Harvey 1859b: 335. J. Agardh 1876: 45; 1892: 41. Kylin 1956: 385.

Thallus (Fig. 135A) erect, medium red-brown to grey-brown, 15–30 cm high, irregularly branched with frequent radial branchlets (Figs 135B, 136A) giving a shaggy appearance to the linear branch and densely corticated with entwined rhizoids on all branches except near actively growing apices. Holdfast rhizoidal, 4–10 (–15) mm across; epilithic. Structure. Axial cells 20–25 µm in diameter near the apex, becoming 200–250 µm in diameter and L/D 2–6 (–10) near the base, producing a single branchlet radially from each cell, branchlets simple or usually basally branched, tapering only slightly over their length from 20–304m in diameter basally to (10–) 14–22 µm in diameter just subapically, cells L/D 2–4, some cells laterally swollen; cortical rhizoids 8–45 µm in diameter, cells L/D 2–4, often with a lateral swelling. Cells multinucleate; rhodoplasts discoid, elongate in older cells.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Carpogonial branches (Fig. 136B) borne on short, 3-celled, lateral branches on limited indeterminate branches along the main laterals. The subterminal cell cuts off a 4-celled carpogonial branch (Fig. 136B), with the third cell bearing 2 opposite sterile periaxial cells; a distinct gelatinous sheath encloses the fertile axis, and the three sterile cells (apical, and 2 periaxial) enlarge considerably and become rounded, often remaining visible in mature carposporophytes (Figs 135C, 136C). Post-fertilization an auxiliary cell is cut off from the supporting cell and the gonimoblast cell develops several rounded gonimolobes successively (Fig. 135C), lobes (150–) 200–400 µm across, carposporangia ovoid, (15–) 20–30 (–50) in diameter. Axial cells below the developing carposporophyte produce an involucre of filaments. Spermatangial heads (Figs 135D, 136D) are borne on cells of branchlets in mid to upper parts of the thallus. Each head has 1–2 stalk cells and is 20–45 µm in diameter and 50–70 µm long, with an axis of 8–10 cells bearing whorls of 2–4 cells, the terminal initials producing ovoid spermatangia 2–2.5 µm in diameter.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 136E) are borne on outer cells of the branchlets, on 1–3-celled pedicels (which may branch and form further tetrasporangia), subspherical and 25–45 (–55) µm in diameter, tetrahedrally divided.

Type from Cape Liptrap, Victoria (Mueller, 1853); holotype missing from MEL, 1007336 (see Wollaston 1990, p. 21).

Selected specimens: Point Peron, W. Aust., drift (Gordon-Mills, 8.xii.1984; AD, A56675). Head of Great Australian Bight, S. Aust., drift (Gordon, 4.xi.1968; AD, A34195). Elliston, S. Aust., drift (Womersley,

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

Distribution: Point Peron, W. Aust., to Waratah Bay, Vic., and the N coast of Tasmania.

Taxonomic notes: 14.0.1954; AD, A19400). Wanna, S. Aust., drift (Womersley, 19.ii.1959; AD, A22383). Stenhouse Bay, S. Aust., 3–7 m deep (Kraft, 18.ix.1973; AD, A44559). Daly Head, S. Aust., drift (Woelkerling, 26.iii.1967; AD, A31405). Amphitheatre Rock, West I., S. Aust., 13–20 m deep (Shepherd, 1.i.1969; AD, A33258). Seal Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., drift (Kraft, 4.xii.1971; AD, A41433). Cable Hut Reef, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., 15–21 m deep (Lavers, 14.ii.1996; AD, A64849). Robe, S. Aust., drift (Wollaston, 13.iii.1955; AD, A19902). Bridgewater Bay, Vic., drift (Beauglehole, 26.xii.1950; AD, A15623). Queenscliff, Vic., drift (Norris, 21.i.1963; AD, A27478). Waratah Bay, Vic., drift (Sinkora, 28.0.1978; AD, A53593). Bridport, Tas., drift (Parsons & Womersley, 6.xi.1982; AD, A54533).

S. conspicuum, and its relationships with the superficially similar Lasiothallia hirsuta, have been clarified by Wollaston (1990).


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. (1892). Analecta Algologica. Acta Univ. lund. 28, 1–182, Plates 1–3.

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.)

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

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1927). Notes on Australian marine algae. IV. The Australian species of the genus Spongoclonium. Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 52, 460–470, Plates 27–35.

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.

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.)

WOLLASTON, E.M. (1990). Recognition of the genera Spongoclonium and Lasiothalia Harvey (Ceramiaceae, Rhodophyta) in southern Australia. Bot. Mar. 33, 19–30.

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

Illustrations in Womersley Part IIIA, 1998: FIGS 135, 136 A–E.

Figure 135 image

Figure 135   enlarge

Fig. 135. Spongoclonium conspicuum (A, C, AD, A56675; B, AD, A64549; D, AD, A33258). A. Habit. B. Upper branch with branchlets and carposporophytes (lower right). C. Young carposporophyte with rounded sterile cells (arrows). D. Spermatangial heads.

Figure 136 image

Figure 136   enlarge

Fig. 136. A–E. Spongoclonium conspicuum (AD, uncertain). A. A lesser branch. B. A procarp system. C. A young carposporophyte. D. Pedicellate spermatangial heads. E. Branchlets with pedicellate tetrasporangia. (As in Wollaston 1990, courtesy of Bot. Marina.) F–J. Spongoclonium brownianum (F–I,D, A37716; J, AD, A37619). F. Procarp system. G. Young carposporophyte. H. A mature carposporophyte. I. Stages in development of spermatangial heads, mature on right. J. Pedicellate tetrasporangia. (F–J, by Wollaston.)

Disclaimer Copyright Disclaimer Copyright Email Contact:
State Herbarium of South Australia
Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Department for Environment and Water