Rhodophyta, Red Algae

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Botryocladia botryoides (Wulfen) J. Feldmann

Rhodophyta, Order: Rhodymeniales; Family: Rhodymeniaccae.

Etymology

Both the name of the genus (Botryocladia) and that of the  species (botryoides) are derived from the algal resemblance  to a cluster of grapes.

Description

The Botryocladia is one of the most beautiful algae found  along our coastline. Its branches are cylindrical, and they  dichotomously branch out, ending in smooth, shiny  bladders coloured burgundy-red. The effect is that of a  small cluster of grapes. The bladders are salivary, losing  their volume and shrinking when exposed to the air.

Size

The algal length reaches 10 cm, but it is usually smaller and  sometimes contains only a small number of vesicles or just  one. The size of each vesicle is between 4 and 7 cm.

Colour

Botryocladia botryoides boasts a fiery red colour, ranging  from dark pink to burgundy red.

Special features

The alga features a cluster of burgundy coloured bladders,  sometimes solitary and sometimes bunched together by the  dozens. Microscopic observation of a bladder section  reveals its membrane to be composed of tiny, dark cells. On  the inside, one finds onion-shaped ‘bulb-cells’.

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