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Lophosiphonia prostrata (Harvey) Falkenberg 1901: 501.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Rhodomelaceae – Tribe Polyzonieae

Selected citations: Abbott 1999: 399, fig. 117D, E. Adams 1994: 317. Cribb 1956b: 139, pl. 2 figs 1–7. De Toni 1903: 1070. Hollenberg 1968c: 77, fig. 3. Huisman 1993: 13; 1997: 206. Lucas 1909: 45. May 1965: 380; 1981: 342. May & Larkum 1981: 456. Millar 1990: 452, fig. 69F. Millar & Kraft 1993: 56. Silva et al. 1996: 526.


Polysiphonia prostrata Harvey 1855a: 540; 1863, synop.: xx. J. Agardh 1863: 915. Sonder 1880: 34.

Falkenbergiella prostrata (Harvey) Kylin 1938: 21. Pocock 1953: 44.

Thallus (Fig. 146A) prostrate on the host surface, 2–8 (–20) cm long, with filaments extending and branching over the host length and their apices free and curled over the host growing margin (Fig. 146B); erect filaments few and short, associated with reproduction. Attached by rhizoids; epiphytic on Lobophora and Distromium. Structure. Apical cells hemispherical or shortly conical, 10–20 µm (including the thick sheath) in diameter, axial cells with 4 pericentral cells; filaments of uniform width (Fig. 146B), 55–90 µm in diameter, segments L/D 0.5–1 (–1.5). Branching endogenous from the axial cells. Trichoblasts variable in abundance, on subapical segments of short free branches, 200–500 µm long, branched, basal cells 20–25 µm in diameter. Rhizoids unicellular, not cut off from pericentral cells. Cells uninucleate; rhodoplasts discoid.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Procarps not observed. Carposporophytes (Fig. 146D) with a small basal fusion cell and short branched gonimoblast with clavate terminal carposporangia 20–35 µm in diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 146C, D) on branches of short erect laterals, short-stalked, ovoid to slightly urceolate, 200–300 µm in diameter; pericarp 2 cells thick, ecorticate, outer cells angular, isodiametric. Spermatangial organs (Fig. 146E) replacing trichoblasts, 35–55 in diameter and 90–180 µm long, with a sterile basal and 1 (–2) sterile apical cell.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 146F) in curved, suberect branches near recurved apices, the branches 300–500 µm long and 60–100 µm in diameter, tetrasporangia one per segment, 50–75 µm in diameter, with 3 cover cells.

Type from Fremantle, W. Aust. (on Lobophora); holotype in TCD (Harvey, Trav. Set).

Selected specimens: Point Clune, Rottnest I., W. Aust., on Zonaria, 13–14 m deep (Kraft & Ricker, 2.xii.1980; MELU, A35527). Pearson I., S. Aust., on Distromium multifidum, 20–23 m deep (Shepherd & Turner, 29.iii.1982; AD, A53045). Port Victoria, Yorke Pen., S. Aust., on D. flabellatum, 3–4 m deep (Kraft, 20.ix.1973; AD, A44541). Tiparra Reef, S. Aust., on D. flabellatum, 5–6 m deep (Shepherd, 24.vi.1970; AD, A35938). Troubridge Point, S. Aust., on D. multifidum, 5 m deep (Baker, 31.x.1993; AD, A66392). Somerton, S. Aust., on Lobophora, drift (Womersley, 4.iii.1944; AD, A1605). Marino, S. Aust., on D. flabellatum, drift (Womersley, 18.iv.1960; AD, A24357). Aldinga, S. Aust., on D. flabellatum, drift (Womersley, 14.vii.1963; AD, A26531) and on D. multifidum (Womersley, 14.vii.1963; AD, A26521). Middle R., Kangaroo I., S. Aust., on Lobophora, drift (Womersley, 8.i.1946; AD, A3402).

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

Distribution: Rottnest I., W. Aust., to Aldinga, S. Australia; N.S.W. (Millar & Kraft 1993, p. 56); Qld (Cribb 1956b, p. 139).

New Zealand. Central Pacific (Abbott 1999, p. 400). South Africa ?(Silva et al. 1996, p. 526).

Taxonomic notes: Lophosiphonia prostrata has a remarkably wide distribution as an epiphyte on zonarioid algae. It is distinctive in that the apices of filaments curl over the growing margin of the host, the growth of both being closely co-ordinated.

Stegenga & Vroman (1988, p. 307, figs 24–26, 29–31) recorded a "form" of Polysiphonia scopulorum epiphytic on Lobophora from Curacao. Their figures 29–31 indicate clearly that this form is actually Lophosiphonia prostrata. However, the figures (8–12) of Norris (1992) are most unlikely to be of L. prostrata.


ABBOTT, I.A. (1999). Marine Red Algae of the Hawaiian Islands. (Bishop Museum Press: Honolulu, Hawai'i.)

ADAMS, N.M. (1994). Seaweeds of New Zealand. (Cant. Univ. Press: Christchurch.)

AGARDH, J.G. (1863). Species Genera et Ordines Algarum. Vol. 2, Part 3, pp. 787–1291. (Gleerup: Lund.)

CRIBB, A.B. (1956b). Records of marine algae from south-eastern Queensland II. Polysiphonia and Lophosiphonia. Univ. Qld Pap. Dept Bot. 3(16), 131–147.

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

FALKENBERG, P. (1901). Die Rhodomelaceen des Golfes von Neapel und der angrenzenden Meeres-abschnitte. Fauna und Flora des Golfes von Neapel. Monogr. 26. (Friedländer: Berlin.)

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

HOLLENBERG, G.J. (1968c). Phycological Notes III. New records of marine algae from the central Tropical Pacific Ocean. Brittonia 20, 74–82.

HUISMAN, J.M. (1993). Supplement to the catalogue of marine plants recorded from Rottnest Island. In Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I., Kirkman, H. & Lethbridge, R. (Eds). The marine flora and fauna of Rottnest Island, Western Australia. Proc. Fifth Int. Mar. Biol. Workshop, pp. 11–18. (W. Aust. Museum: Perth.)

HUISMAN, J.M. (1997). Marine Benthic Algae of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. In Wells, F.E. (Ed.) The Marine Flora and Fauna of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia, pp. 177–237. (W. Aust. Museum: Perth.)

KYLIN, H. (1938). Verzeichnis einiger Rhodophyceen von Stidafrika. Lunds Univ. Årsskr. N.F. Avd. 2, 34 (8), 1–26, Plates 1–8.

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

MAY, V. & LARKUM, A.W.D. (1981). A subtidal transect in Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Aust. J. Ecol. 6, 439–457.

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

MAY, V. (1981). Long-term variation in algal intertidal floras. Aust. J. Ecol. 6, 329–343.

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.

MILLAR, A.J.K. (1990). Marine Red Algae of the Coffs Harbour Region, northern New South Wales. Aust. Syst. Bot. 3, 293–593.

NORRIS, R.E. (1992). Ceramiales (Rhodophyceae) genera new to South Africa, including new species of Womersleyella and Herposiphonia. S. Afr. J. Bot. 58, 65–76.

POCOCK, M.A. (1953). South African parasitic Florideae and their hosts. I. Four members of the Rhodomelaceae which act as hosts for parasitic Florideae. J. Linnean Soc. London, Bot. 55, 34–47, pls 5–9.

SILVA, P.C., BASSON, P.W. & MOE, R.L. (1996). Catalogue of the Benthic Marine Algae of the Indian Ocean. (Univ. California Press: Berkeley.)

SONDER, O.W. (1880). In Mueller, F., Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae. Supplementum ad volumen undecinum: Algae Australianae hactenus cognitae, pp. 1–42, 105–107. (Melbourne.)

STEGENGA, H. & VROMAN, M. (1988). Additions to the marine algal flora of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles. Blumea 33, 299–311.

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

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (24 February, 2003)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Rhodophyta. Part IIID. Ceramiales – Delesseriaceae, Sarcomeniaceae, Rhodomelaceae
Reproduced with permission from The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia Part IIID 2003, by H.B.S. Womersley. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. Copyright Commonwealth of Australia.

Illustration in Womersley Part IIIA, 2003: FIG. 146.

Figure 146 image

Figure 146   enlarge

Fig. 146. Lophosiphonia prostrata (A–E, AD, A53045; F, AD, A26531). A. Habit, on Distromium multifidum. B. Closer view of A. C. Cystocarps on erect branches. D. Cystocarps. E. Spermatangial organs replacing trichoblasts on erect branches. F. Tetrasporangia in erect branches.

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