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Electronic Flora of South Australia Species Fact Sheet

Codium fragile (Suringar) Hariot.

Phylum Chlorophyta – Order Codiales – Family Codiaceae

Selected citations: Lucas 1936: 54, fig. 35b, 37. Silva & Womersley 1956: 282, figs 14,15.

Thallus (Fig. 79D) medium to dark green, erect, terete, repeatedly sulidichotomously and often laterally branched, 5–30 cm high, attached by a broad, spongy, basal disc, relatively soft, often tomentose with profuse hairs. Utricles (Fig. 80D,E) cylindrical to slightly clavate, (70–) 130–330 (–400) µm in diameter, (700–) 1000–1450 (–1750) µm long, apices pointed and thickened forming a mucro to 75 µm long; hairs stout, abundant, 50–100 in diameter. Medullary filaments 25–50 µm in diameter, with a plug adjacent to utricle base. Gametangia elongate-ovoid to cylindrical, 90–130 µm in diameter and 260–450 µm long, 1–4 per utricle, borne on a slight protuberance.

Type from Japan; in L, 910,187 . . . 1712.

Selected specimens: Port MacDonnell, S. Aust., lower eulittoral (Womersley, 11.xii.1969: ADU, A34854-"Marine Algae of southern Australia" No. 19). Point Lonsdale, Vic., uppermost sublittoral (Womersley, 21.i.1967; ADU, A31711). Walkerville, Vic., at low tide level (Sinkora A1526, 21.ii.1972; ADU, A42281). Green Point, west coast Tas., in deep pools ( Wollaston & Mitchell, 27.ii.1964; ADU, A27549). Woody I., D'Entrecasteaux Channel, Tas., 0–2 m deep (Shepherd, 17.ii.1972; ADU, A41642). Port Arthur, Tas. (Cribb 126.9, 6.ii.1951; in UC).

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

Distribution: From Victor Harbor, S. Aust. to Ballina, N.S.W. and around Tasmania, in the lowest eulittoral and uppermost sublittoral.

Widespread in cooler temperate waters of both hemispheres.

Taxonomic notes: Several varieties (or subspecies) of C. fragile are recognised, of which subsp. tasmanicum (J. Agardh) Silva in Silva & Womersley (1956, p. 283) occurs from Victor Harbor, South Australia, to Walkerville, Victoria and around Tasmania. Subspecies novae-zelandiae (J. Agardh) Silva is a New Zealand form which also occurs from Robe, South Australia to Ballina, New South Wales, and around Tasmania. Subspecies tasmanicum has acuminate, sharply mucronate utricles (e.g. Cribb 126.9, in UC-Fig. 80D) whereas in subspecies novae-zelandiae they are more rounded and bluntly mucronate (e.g. ADU, A31711-Fig. 80E). Intergrades, however, are common.


LUCAS, A.H.S. (1936). The Seaweeds of South Australia. Pt. I. Introduction and the Green and Brown Seaweeds. (Govt Printer: Adelaide.)

SILVA, P.C. & WOMERSLEY, H.B.S. (1956). The genus Codium (Chlorophyta) in southern Australia. Aust. J. Bot. 4, 261–289.

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

Author: H.B.S. Womersley

Publication: Womersley, H.B.S. (31 May, 1984)
The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia
Part I
©Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, Government of South Australia

Illustrations in Womersley Part I, 1984: FIGS 79D, 80D,E.

Figure 79 image

Figure 79   enlarge

Fig. 79. A. Codium harveyi (ADU, A10557, type). B. Codium muelleri (ADU, A35176). C. Codium australicum (ADU, A38221). D. Codium fragile (ADU, A34854). E. Codium spinescens (ADU, A19240. type).

Figure 80 image

Figure 80   enlarge

Fig. 80. Utricle clusters with gametangia. A. Codium harveyi (Perrin in UC and Mackay in K (right)). B. Codium muelleri (ADU. A18661). C. Codium australicum (Cribb 150.1 in UC). D. Codium fragile s.sp. tasmanicum (Cribb 126.9 in UC). E. Codium fragile s.sp. novae-zelandiae (ADU, A31711). F. Codium spinescens (Royce 616 in PERTH). (After Silva & Womersley 1956.)

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