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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Pityophycos tasmanica (Sonder) Papenfuss 1958: 107.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Rhodomelaceae – Tribe Polysiphonieae

Selected citations: May 1965: 384.


Acanthophora tasmanica Sonder 1853: 699. J. Agardh 1863: 816. Harvey 1859b: 296.

Polysiphonia tasmanica (Sonder) J. Agardh 1863: 1018. Harvey 1863, synop.: xx. Sonder 1880: 34. Tisdall 1898: 514.

Pithyopsis tasmanica (Sonder) Falkenberg in Schmitz & Falkenberg 1897: 441. De Toni 1903: 969. Falkenberg 1901: 181, pl. 14 figs 33–36. Guiler 1952: 102. Kylin 1956: 506, fig. 402. Lucas 1909: 42; 1929a: 22.

Dictyomenia myriacantha Kützing 1864: 33, pl. 94a-e. De Toni 1903: 988. Guiler 1952: 105. Lucas 1909: 42; 1929a: 22. May 1965: 395. Sonder 1880: 33.

Thallus (Fig. 98A) dark red-brown, erect, 2–12 (–20) cm high, radially branched with one to few terete axes bearing long lateral branches for 3–4 orders, denuded below, upper branches clothed with short determinate laterals (Fig. 98B) often with a compressed, pinnate, upper one and a usually simple, terete, lower one, spirally arranged. Attachment by basal stoloniferous branches; probably epilithic or on coralline algae. Structure. Apices rapidly corticated, with 4 pericentral cells, bearing closely arranged, coupled, determinate laterals probably in 1/4 divergence; these laterals 0.5–1 mm long, the upper alternately distichously branched (Fig. 98C, D) with 3–5 branches on each side, polysiphonous from close to the apical cells and with branched trichoblasts; the lower one usually simple. Axes 0.5–1.2 mm in diameter, indeterminate laterals 0.3–0.5 mm in diameter, with the pericentral and inner cortical cells becoming thick walled. Rhodoplasts discoid.

Reproduction: Gametangial thalli little known. MEL, 45607 shows ovoid cystocarps (Fig. 98E) borne near the ends of the pinnate determinate laterals, some about 200 µm in diameter, with clavate terminal carposporangia borne on a short gonimoblast and a small basal fusion cell, with an ecorticate pericarp.

Tetrasporangia borne sparsely within the determinate laterals, single per segment, 25–40 µm in diameter.

Type from Georgetown, Tas. (Stuart); holotype in MEL, 537395, isotype MEL, 537396.

Selected specimens: Port Phillip, Vic. (Mueller, MEL, 45607, 45681). Brighton, Port Phillip, Vic. (Harvey?, Trav. Set 479; MEL, 45614). Sorrento, Port Phillip, Vic. (Wilson, 29.i.1884; MEL, 45645). Georgetown, Tas. (Harvey, Alg. Aust. Exsicc. 165 I, fragment AD, A18443). Low Head, Tas. (Cribb 74.7, 16.ix.1952; AD, A16269). Currie R., Tas (Jones, 5.xii.1934; Tilden's South Pacific Plants, Series 2, No. 194, AD, A49949).

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

Distribution: Known only from the vicinity of Georgetown and Low Head, Tasmania, and from Port Phillip, Victoria.

Taxonomic notes: Pityophycos tasmanica is apparently a rare species, needing detailed study from fresh material to clarify the arrangement of the determinate laterals and reproduction. Although Falkenberg in Schmitz & Falkenberg (1897, p. 441), followed by May (1965, p. 384), recorded it from the coast of South Australia, the only mainland specimens are from Port Phillip, Victoria, collected in the mid 1800's. It has apparently never been collected in the last half century. The type of Dictyomenia myriacantha Kützing, from Georgetown Tasmania, in Herb. Sonder, MEL, is Pityophycos tasmanica.


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

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.)

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

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.)

KÜTZING, F.T. (1864). Tabulae Phycologicae. Vol. 14. (Nordhausen.)

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.

LUCAS, A.H.S. (1929a). The marine algae of Tasmania. Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasm. 1928, 6–27.

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.

PAPENFUSS, G.F. (1958). Notes on algal nomenclature. IV. Taxon 7, 104–109.

SCHMITZ, F. & FALKENBERG, P. (1897). Rhodomelaceae. In Engler, A. & Prantl, K., Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien. T.1. Abt. 2, pp. 421–480. (Englemann: Leipzig.)

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

SONDER, O.W. (1880). 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.

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. 98.

Figure 98 image

Figure 98   enlarge

Fig. 98. Pityophycos tasmanica (A, MEL, 537395; B, MEL, 45614; C, D, AD, A16269; E, MEL, 45607). A. Habit, holotype. B. Indeterminate branches with pinnate and simple determinate laterals. C. Indeterminate branch with pinnate determinate laterals. D. Pinnate determinate laterals. E. Determinate lateral with a young cystocarp.

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