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

Spyridia filamentosa (Wulfen) Harvey 1833: 36; 1844: 449; 1846, pl. 46; 1855a: 557; 1859b: 329; 1863, synop.: xlii.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Order Ceramiales – Family Ceramiaceae – Tribe Spyridieae

Selected citations: J. Agardh 1852: 340; 1876: 268; 1897: 13. Allender 1981: 19, 20. Børgesen 1917: 223, figs 222–226. Feldmann-Mazoyer 1941: 348. Guiler 1952: 98. Hommersand 1963: 177, figs 4–10. Hooker & Harvey 1847: 409. Krishnamurthy 1968: 42. Maggs & Hommersand 1993: 136, fig. 45. Millar & Kraft 1993: 42. Okamura 1932: 130. Reinbold 1897: 60. Silva et al. 1996: 427. Sonder 1853: 680; 1881: 16. Tate 1882: 18. Tisdall 1898: 505. Wilson 1892: 181. Womersley 1958: 157. Womersley & Cartledge 1975: 222, figs 1, 3A, B.


Fucus filamentosus Wulfen 1803: 64.

S. filamentosa var. arbuscula Sonder 1855: 518.

S. biannulata J. Agardh 1876: 267; 1897: 13. De Toni 1903: 1426. Guiler 1952: 98. Lucas 1909: 52; 1929a: 25; 1929b: 53. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 363. May 1965: 369. Okamura 1932: 130. Reinbold 1897: 60; 1899: 50. Sonder 1881:16 Tisdall 1898: 505. Wilson 1892: 181. Womersley 1950: 180.

S. breviarticulata J. Agardh 1876: 268; 1897: 13. De Toni 1903: 1427. Guiler 1952: 98. Lucas 1909: 52; 1929a: 25; 1929b: 53. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 363. May 1965: 369. Okamura 1932: 130. Reinbold 1897: 60; 1899: 50. Sonder 1881: 16.

S. spinella Sonder 1845: 53; 1846: 168; 1881: 16. J. Agardh 1852: 342; 1876: 269; 1897: 13. De Toni 1903: 1430. Harvey 1863, synop.: xlii. Kützing 1849: 668; 1862: 16, pl. 51c, d. Lucas 1909: 52. May 1965: 369. Mazza 1925, No. 824. Okamura 1932: 130.

Thallus (Fig. 171A) grey to grey-red, sometimes red-brown, 7–18 cm high, lax and soft, irregularly much branched on all sides with longer and shorter branches intermixed, with one to several axes. Holdfast originally discoid, soon becoming fibrous or stoloniferous and entangled; epilithic or epiphytic on various larger algae and seagrasses. Structure. Axes and larger branches corticated, terete; axes 0.5–1 (–1.3) mm in diameter, tapering to lesser branches 100–300 µm in diameter; laterals arising from periaxial cells or adventitiously from cortical cells. Segments usually clearly defined on branches (Fig. 171B), variable in length and proportions but usually L/D (0.2–) 0.5–1, with bands of shorter nodal cells and longer internodal cells alternating; nodes with 11–14 periaxial cells, each corresponding to two internodal cells except for the (usually) larger periaxial cell bearing the ramellus. Cortication usually commencing a few mm from the apices but very variable, consisting of rhizoidal cells lying between the internodal cells and gradually forming a continuous cortex 1 (–2) cells thick. Ramelli (Figs 171B) single per segment, irregularly spirally arranged, 0.5–1.5 mm and 12–20 (–27) cells long, cylindrical or gently tapering apart from the terminal 2–3 very short cells (Fig. 173A) which taper abruptly to a mucronate cell, (35–) 40–55 (–65) µm thick with cells L/D (1.2–) 1.5–2.5 (–3); mucronate end cell often lost from older ramelli, ramelli with about 9 nodal cells, each usually cutting off 1 (–2) cells anteriorly, giving a nodal band (Fig. 173B) 2–3 cells broad. Cells uninucleate; rhodoplasts discoid to elongate, becoming ribbon like.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Carposporophytes (Fig. 171C) short-stalked, usually bilobed, lobes globular, 300–700 µm across. Spermatangia covering the lower (except basal) several segments of ramelli (Fig. 171D), forming male organs 75–120 µm in diameter.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 171E) sessile, 1–3 per cell on lower cells of ramelli, mostly on the upper (adaxial) side, subspherical, 50–75 µm in diameter, tetrahedrally divided.

Type from the Adriatic Sea; in Vienna? (Maggs & Hommersand 1993, p. 136).

Selected specimens: Port Denison, W. Aust., on jetty, 0–5 m deep (Kraft, 14.xii.1971; AD, A41175). Smooth I., Isles of St Francis, S. Aust., on Amphibolis antarctica, 22 m deep (Shepherd, 2910.1980; AD, A52255). Elliston, S. Aust., upper sublittoral pools, inner reef (Womersley, 15.i.1951; AD, A15142). Billy Lights Point, Port Lincoln, S. Aust., on Posidonia australis, 12 m deep (Shepherd, 23.viii.1975; AD, A46568). Port Stanvac, S. Aust., on jetty, 0–1 m deep (Lewis, 14.iv.1972; AD, A41869). Aldinga, S. Aust., lower eulittoral (Cartledge, 30.iii.1972; AD, A41815). Encounter Bay, S. Aust., in shallow pools. (Cartledge, 6.ii.1972; AD, A41810). NE of Ballast Head, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., on mussels, 12 m deep (Hone, 13.0.1997; AD, A66985). Muston, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., on jetty, 3–6 m deep (Lavers, 19.vi.1996; AD, A65918). Cruiser Point, Western Port, Vic., drift (Sinkora, 29.x.1971; AD, A62669). Montagu, Tas., (Perrin, iii.1950; AD, A49672).

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

Distribution: Widely distributed in most temperate and tropical seas.

All around the Australian coast (including Tasmania) in conditions of moderate to slight water movement.

Taxonomic notes: As discussed by Womersley & Cartledge (1975, p. 225), Spyridia filamentosa is recognised as a widely distributed species, having been recorded from most seas, and many authors (e.g. Harvey 1846, pl. 46; Feldmann-Mazoyer 1941, p. 348) refer to it as a very variable species. J. Agardh (1876, p. 268) in segregating two Australian species (S. biannulata and S. breviarticulata) from S. filamentosa, referred to their similarity in habit with S. filamentosa and the large number of forms classed as this species. J. Agardh apparently regarded his two segregate species with some doubt, and a detailed study of extensive collections of Australian material does not provide any satisfactory way of segregating S. biannulata and S. breviarticulata from S. filamentosa. These species and their synonymy were discussed by Womersley & Cartledge (1975, pp 225–227).


AGARDH, J.G. (1852). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 2, Part 2, pp. 337–720. (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. (1897). Analecta Algologica. Cont. IV. Acta Univ. lund. 33, 1–106, Plates 1, 2.

ALLENDER, B.M. (1981). The distribution of benthic macroflora in the Swan River Estuary, Western Australia. J. Roy. Soc. Western Australia 4(1), 17–22.

BØRGESEN, F. (1917). The marine algae of the Danish West Indies. Vol. 2. Rhodophyceae. Part 3. Dansk. bot. Ark. 3, 145–240.

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

FELDMANN-MAZOYER, G. (1941). Recherches sur les Céramiacées de la Méditerranée occidentale. (Algiers.)

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

HARVEY, W.H. (1833). Algae. In W.J. Hooker, &lquot;The British Flora&rquot; Vol. 2, Part 1, pp. 248–401.

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

HARVEY, W.H. (1846). Phycologia Britannica, Plates 1–72. (Reeve: London.)

HARVEY, W.H. (1855a). Some account of the marine botany of the colony of Western Australia. Trans. R. Jr. Acad. 22, 525–566.

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.)

HOMMERSAND, M.H. (1963). The morphology and classification of some Ceramiaceae and Rhodomelaceae. Univ. Calif Pubis. Bot. 35(2), 165–366.

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

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

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

KRISHNAMURTHY, V. (1968). The morphology of Spyridia filamentosa (Wulfen) Harvey. Phykos 7, 42–49.

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.

MAGGS, C.A. & HOMMERSAND, M.H. (1993). Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol. 1. Rhodophyta. Part 3A, Ceramiales. (HMSO: London.)

MAY, V. (1965). A census and key to the species of Rhodophyceae (red algae) recorded from Australia. Contr. N.S.W. natn. Herb. 3, 349–429.

MAZZA, A. (1925). Aggiunte al Saggio di Algologia Oceanica. (Florideae). Nuova Notarisia 36, Nos. 805–810.

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.

OKAMURA, K. (1932). The distribution of marine benthic algae in Pacific waters. Rec. Océanogr. Works Jap. 3, 30–150.

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. (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.G. (1845). Nova Algarum genera et species, quas in itinere ad oras occidentales Novae Hollandiae, collegit L. Preiss, Ph.Dr. Bot. Zeit. 3, 49–57.

SONDER, O.W. (1853). Plantae Muellerianae. Algae. Linnaea 25, 657–709.

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.)

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. & CARTLEDGE, S.A. (1975). The southern Australian species of Spyridia (Ceramiaceae, Rhodophyta). Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 99(4), 221–234.

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. (1958). Marine algae from Arnhem Land, North Australia. Rec. Amer. Aust. Sc. Exp. Arnhem Land, Vol. 3, 139–161.

WULFEN, X. (1803). Cryptogama aquatica. J.J. Rroemer, Arch. Bot. 3, 1–64, Plate 1.

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 171, 173A, B.

Figure 171 image

Figure 171   enlarge

Fig. 171. Spyridia filamentosa (A, AD, A41869; B, AD, A41175; C, AD, A41881; D, E, AD, A41815). A. Habit. B. Branch with branchlets and a young carposporophyte. C. A carposporophyte with 2 gonimolobes and sterile filaments. D. Male plant with spermatangial ramelli. E. Branches with ramelli bearing tetrasporangia. (A, B, D, E, as in Womersley & Cartledge 1975, courtesy of R. Soc. S. Aust.)

Figure 173 image

Figure 173   enlarge

Fig. 173. A, B. Spyridia filamentosa (AD, A41815). A. Apex of a ramellus. B. Mid region of a ramellus. C–G. Spyridia tasmanica (C, D, AD, A41066; E, F, AD, A37622; G, AD, A35287). C, D. Apex and mid region of ramelli of a slender plant. E, F. Apex and mid region of ramelli of a robust plant. G. Female axis with a sreies of procarps. H, I. Spyridia squalida (AD, A26375). Apex and mid region of ramelli. J, K. Spyridia dasyoides (AD, A20170). Apex and mid region of ramelli. (All as in Womersley & Cartledge 1975, courtesy of R. Soc. S. Aust.)

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