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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Polysiphonia amphibolis Womersley 1979: 474, figs 3F, G, 4A–C.

Phylum Rhodophyta – Family Rhodomelaceae – Tribe Polysiphonieae

Selected citations: Huisman et al. 1990: 97. Kendrick et al. 1988: 204; 1990: 52. Lewis 1984: 63. Silva et al. 1996: 536.


Polysiphonia implexa sensu Harvey 1855a: 540; 1863, synop.: xx. J. Agardh 1863: 945 (in part?). Kützing 1864: 12, pl. 36g, h. Lucas 1909: 41. Lucas & Perrin 1947: 268. Sonder 1880: 34. [NON P. implexa Hooker & Harvey 1845b: 538; Harvey 1847: 44. De Toni 1903: 889. Kützing 1849: 806.]

Thallus (Fig. 79F, G) dark brown-red, forming intricate tufts or a felt, usually not more than 1 cm high but occasionally with branches extending from the felt and up to 2 cm high. Attachment by rhizoids from prostrate filaments; epiphytic on the stems of Amphibolis, occasionally on Corallina or Chiracanthia. Structure. Prostrate filaments 70–120 (–160) µm in diameter, tapering gradually to the pointed apices, with segments L/D 0.8–1.5, attached by scattered rhizoids cut off from the pericentral cells and with relatively massive multicellular haptera; axes branching irregularly spirally every (1–) 2–5 segments, producing laterals cicatrigenously and with occasional simple or once branched trichoblasts or single trichoblast cells or scar cells present on every segment. Lateral branches (from prostrate axes) more or less erect (Fig. 79G), mostly 50–130 µm in diameter with segments L/D (0.8–) 1.5–2.5 (–3), tapering gradually to pointed apices, irregularly spirally branched every 1 or 2 segments with branches replacing trichoblasts and developed to varying extents, with many remaining simple. Pericentral cells 4, ecorticate; trichoblasts and scar cell generally present on every segment of erect branches, trichoblasts on well developed apices several times furcate, basal cells 20–30 µm in diameter. Rhodoplasts discoid or commonly ribbon-shaped, irregular or often orientated transversely in the pericentral cells.

Reproduction: Gametophytes dioecious. Carposporophytes with a slight fusion cell and short, branched gonimoblasts with clavate terminal carposporangia 20–25 µm in diameter. Cystocarps (Fig. 80A) short-stalked, ovoid and orientated parallel to parent branch, becoming slightly urceolate when mature, 250–500 µm in diameter; pericarp ostiolate, 2 cells thick, outer cells isodiametric. Spermatangial branches (Fig. 80B) replacing the whole trichoblast, 70–90 µm long and 35–60 µm in diameter, apically pointed, with a 1–2-celled sterile base and usually a small, sterile apical cell.

Tetrasporangia (Fig. 80C) forming a slightly spiral, short series (3–8) in the lesser branches, markedly swelling the segments above the sterile basal ones, 45–70 µm in diameter.

Type from West Beach, S. Aust., on Amphibolis, drift (Gordon, 4.x.1968); holotype in AD, A32838.

Selected specimens: Cliff Head, W. Aust., on Amphibolis, 5–6 m deep (Kirkman & Joll, 18.ix.1979; AD, A51195). King George Sound, W. Aust., (Harvey, Alg. Aust. Exsicc. 179B; AD, A18270 and MEL, 1006721). NE Boston I., Port Lincoln, S. Aust., on Haliptilon?, 3–4 m deep (Womersley, 28.ii.1959; AD, A22516). Yatala Harbour, N Spencer Gulf, S. Aust., 10 m deep (Johnson, 29.v.1976; AD, A54926). Tiparra Reef, S. Aust., on Amphibolis, 5 m deep (Shepherd, 17.vi.1971; AD, A39181). Off St Kilda, S. Aust., on Amphibolis, 3 m deep (S. Lewis, 28.viii.1972; AD, A42742). Glenelg, S. Aust., on Amphbolis, 18 m deep (Glover, 20.iv.1961; AD, A24849). Emu Bay, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., on Haliptilon, 3–4 m deep (Kraft, 6.iv.1972; AD, A42431). Muston, American R. inlet, Kangaroo I., S. Aust., on Chiracanthia, 2–3 m deep (Kraft, 17.vii.1972; AD, A42525).

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

Distribution: Shark Bay, W. Aust. (Huisman et al. 1990, p. 97) to Marino, Gulf St Vincent, S. Aust. mainly on Amphibolis; also recorded on Corallina and Chiracanthia. Incorrectly reported from Lord Howe I. by Lewis (1984, p. 63) - see Millar & Kraft (1993, p. 57).

Taxonomic notes: The habitat, habit, morphology, the multicellular rhizoidal pads and the common transverse arrangement of rhodoplasts clearly characterise P. amphibolis. It is not uncommon on Corallina and is a common epiphyte on the stems of A. antarctica, where it may be directly associated with the common crustose coralline epiphytes on this seagrass. The single collection on Chiracanthia may also be associated with crustose corallines.


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.)

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.)

HOOKER, J.D. & HARVEY, W.H. (1845b). Algae Novae Zelandiae. Lund. J. Bot. 4, 521–551.

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

HUISMAN, J.M., KENDRICK, G.A., WALKER, D.I. & COUTÉ, A. (1990). The Marine Algae of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Research in Shark Bay. Report of the France-Australe Bicentenary Expedition Committee, pp. 89–100.

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

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

KENDRICK, G.A., WALKER, D.I. & McCOMB, A.J. (1988). Changes in the distribution of macro-algal epiphytes on stems of the seagrass Amphibolis antarctica along a salinity gradient in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Phycologia 27, 201–208.

KENDRICK, G.A., HUISMAN, J.M. & WALKER, D.I. (1990). Benthic macroalgae of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Bot. Mar. 33, 47–54.

LEWIS, J.A. (1984). Checklist and bibliography of benthic marine macroalgae recorded from northern Australia. I. Rhodophyta. Dept. Defence, Materials Res. Lab., Melbourne, Vic. Report MRL-R-912.

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.

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.

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.)

WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1979). Southern Australian species of Polysiphonia Greville (Rhodophyta). Aust. J. Bot. 27, 459–528.

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.

Illustrations in Womersley Part IIIA, 2003: FIGS 79F, G, 80 A–C.

Figure 79 image

Figure 79   enlarge

Fig. 79. A–D. Polysiphonia senticulosa (AD, A36032). A. Habit. B. Cystocarp. C. Spermatangial branches. D. Tetrasporangial branches. E. Polysiphonia brevisegmenta (AD, A32615). Branches bearing cystocarps. F, G. Polysiphonia amphibolis (F, AD, A32838; G, AD, A42525). F. Habit, on stems of Amphibolis. G. Thallus, with prostrate axes bearing erect branches. (All as in Womersley 1979, courtesy of Aust. J. Bot.)

Figure 80 image

Figure 80   enlarge

Fig. 80. A–C. Polysiphonia amphibolis (AD, A32838). A. Branches with cystocarps. B. Spermatangial branches. C. Tetrasporangial branches. D–G. Polysiphonia mollis (AD, A32929). D. Habit. E. Branches with cystocarps. F. Spermatangial branches. G. Tetrasporangial branches. (All as in Womersley 1979, courtesy of Aust. J. Bot.)

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