Rhodophyta, Red Algae

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Chondria dasyphylla (Woodward) C. Agardh

Rhodophyta, Order: Ceramiales; Family: Rhodomelaceae.

Etymology

Chondrus means ‘cartilage’ and dasyphylla means ‘hairy leaf’. These describe the Chondria dasyphylla’s characteristic cartilage-like texture and the hairs found inside its nipples.

Description

The Chondria dasyphylla is a small, branched alga, cartilaginous to touch, in shades of light brown. The main branches sprout 1-2 mm branches. Bouquets of protrusions can be seen at the edge of the branches through a microscope or magnifying glass. The tiny nipples are arranged around the top of each branch, and through a microscope, hairs growing out of small concavities at the branch edge can be seen.

At the edge of the branches, five large pericentral cells form a sort of growth ring. The thallus usually also contains five rows of cells at the end of the growth cells.

Size

The alga is smaller than 5 cm, but larger individuals may be found. A branch’s diameter can reach 2 mm. The side branches grow up to 5 mm in length.

Colour

The alga has a cartilaginous texture, is nearly transparent and shaded brown edging towards pink. The colours shift, based on age and the amount of light in the habitat.

Special features

The Chondria dasyphylla resembles the Laurencia obtuse, but has a different anatomic structure and nipple shape. A microscope, or at least a magnifying glass, is needed for positive identification. Resemblance is also due to the presence of similar parasites and epiphytes found upon the two species.

Habitat

The Chondria dasyphylla appears in the upper regions of the subtidal zone and sometimes on abrasion platforms, where it is sometimes exposed to air. It can often be found on the raised edges nearby, along with the Ceramium.

Biology and reproduction

The reproductive cells appear at the base of the side branches. The cystocarps are globular and slightly elongated, and the spores are round and disk-like. The spores can reach 0.5 mm in width.

Seasonality and distribution

The Chondria dasyphylla is not a common species. It is not usually found in great numbers, although harvested throughout the year. The species is distributed nearly worldwide.

Additional species

Additional species reported in the Eastern Mediterranean: Chondria boryana (De Notaris) De Toni, was reported in deep water by Edelstein.

Chondria capillaris (Hudson) Wynne

= C. tenuissima (Goodenough et Woodward) C. Agardh

= Asterocytis ornata (C. Agardh) Hamel

 Chondria capillaris (Hudson) Wynne Chondria coerulescens (Crouan) Falkenberg Chondria mairei G. Feldmann

Chondria curvilineata Collins & Hervey.

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