Chlorophyta, Green Algae
Chlorophyta, Order: Cladophorales; Family: Cladophoraceae.
Cladophora, means ‘carrier of branches’. The scientific name of the species, pseudopellucida, refers to its resemblance to Cladophora pellucida (and its name refers to the transparency of the thallus).
The Cladophora pseudopellucida resembles a small, dark green bush. Its branches are multi-branched, either dichotomously or trichotomously. The thallus is comparatively hard and does not easily tear upon harvesting. The branches are dense but do not form a cushion, as do other species of Cladophora.
Cladophora pseudopellucida has developed a holdfast in the rock that contains several rhizoids that emanate from one primary cell. The upper branches’ cells are twelve to twenty times their width in length.
The branches are not usually longer than 10 cm, and their width is about 1 mm. The upper branches are usually thinner than the lower ones. In the Western Mediterranean, larger individuals have been reported, reaching 30 cm; but there, too, the length is rarely over 10 cm.
The Cladophora pseudopellucida is dark green tending towards blue. Mature plants that are immersed for lengthy periods in water lose their pigmentation and acquire a translucent shade.
The Cladophora pseudopellucida is one of the easiest species to identify among the Cladophoras in our region, thanks to its dark colour and the relative strength of the thallus.
The Cladophora pseudopellucida usually prefers hidden places, and it can be found in the upper regions of the intertidal zone, along the edges of abrasion platforms, but also in tidal pools and shaded areas. In many tidal pools upon the abrasion platform, one or more individuals may be found. Individuals also are to be found in the depths, and in this region, they have been reported at 40 m. In other places, individuals have been found at depths of 70 m. The species is identified in literature as an epiphyte, often as a host for other organisms.
Biology and reproduction
The Cladophora’s reproduction is through tetraspores with flagella (zoospores) and pairs of gametes.
The Cladophora is consumed by marine organisms, and individuals are often found eaten almost to the core. These individuals have the ability to regenerate.
Seasonality and distribution
The Cladophora pseudopellucida is very common along Eastern Mediterranean coasts. Its global distribution includes the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, especially along the shores of Northern Europe.
See details in Cladophora genus.