Rhodophyta, Red Algae

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Centroceras clavulatum (C. Agardh) Montagn

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.

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