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Chlorophyta, Green Algae

Ulva (Enteromorpha) prolifera J. Agardh

Chlorophyta, Order: Ulvales; Family: Ulvaceae.

Current accepted name: Ulva prolifera O. F. M.ller


Ulva (Enteromorpha) refers to the thallus’ tubular shape, which resembles an intestine. The name of the species refers to the dented thallus, which bears progeny as offshoots.


The Ulva (Enteromorpha) prolifera is a filamentous alga with a distinct central axis that is the same width throughout. Through a microscope, the abundant proliferation and the narrow branching are evident - the latter is usually single but sometimes double rowed. From above, the thallus cells are seen to be square or rectangular and usually arranged in rows. The chloroplast is shaped like a lobe, and there is usually a single Pyrenoid.


The thallus is from several centimetres in length to several dozen. Individuals measuring up to 2 m have been reported.


The Ulva (Enteromorpha) prolifera’s colour ranges from greenish- yellow to greenish-blue.

Special features

Special features include the scarcity of branching and the dented protrusions (proliferation) of the thallus.


In the Eastern Mediterranean Basin, the Ulva (Enteromorpha) prolifera can be found in the upper regions of the intertidal zone. In other places, it has been reported in deeper water.

Biology and reproduction

See description under Ulva and Enteromorpha.

Seasonality and distribution

There is inadequate information on distribution in the Eastern Mediterranean. General distribution of the species is more or less universal.

Additional species

The Ulva (Enteromorpha) prolifera has several subspecies, differentiated according to the level of proliferation and the thallus branching.

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