Rhodophyta, Order: Ceramiales; Family: Ceramiaceae. Etymology
The Centroceras clavulatum’s branches end in hook-like arms, in between each of which are tiny, pedicle-like projections. Clavulatum means ‘club-shaped’. Description
A delicate, tiny alga, very common on abrasion platform edges. The alga has many, dense branches that provide a bushy appearance. The branches are cylindrical and jointed. Microscopic examination shows the joints to be darker and surrounded by transparent projections. The branching is dichotomous, each branch ending in diastolic, pincer-like edges curled towards each other. Size
The branches are 1 mm thick and grow up to 5 cm in length. The width of the whole plant is a few centimeters. Colour
Dark red, sometimes edging towards bark brown. Special features
The Centroceras clavulatum may be mistaken for a Ceramium. The Centroceras clavulatum is more common and not as soft. A trained eye can identify its rough joints. Habitat
The alga is abundant at the upper edges of the abrasion platform and on the rims, and is sometimes exposed to air. At greater depths, it is less common, perhaps due to the feeding preferences of fish and herbivores.
A joint of the Centroceras bearing tetraspores. Biology and reproduction
The life cycle is three-staged. The sporangia are concentrated in the joints. The entire life cycle has not yet been fully observed along the East Mediterranean coasts. Seasonality and distribution
The alga is very common along the beach and can be found throughout the year. The species is globally distributed. Additional species
The Centroceras clavulatum can be found in the Red Sea as an epiphyte upon other species. It is not clear whether this is the same species as in the Mediterranean or another species. In Turkey, Centroceras cinnabarinium (Grateloup)
J. Agardh have been reported.
The Centroceras clavulatum is used in East Asia for medicinal purposes.