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Family Corallinaceae

This family is distinguished by heavily calcified thalli. There are several sub-families – the Corallinoideae (geniculate or articulated corallines, which we deal with here) and crustose or non-geniculate corallines, which fall into several sub-families and are not dealt with here. For a key to South African crustose corallines, see Maneveldt et al. 2008).

Sub- Family Corallinoideae

Members of the sub-family Corallinoideae (also referred to as articulated corallines) have erect thalli comprising calcified segments (intergenicula) connected by uncalcified flexible joints (genicula). The reproductive structures are united in conceptacles, the position of which is an important taxonomic character (see Johansen 1970).

The articulated corallines dominate the flora from the sublittoral fringe to the shallow sublittoral zone on many rocky shores on the south coast of South Africa. Nevertheless, species within some of the genera can be difficult to distinguish, and while the DNA barcoding study of Kogame et al. (2017) identified some morphologically distinct clades, further studies are needed of this group.

Sub-Famly Corallinoideae: Key to South coast genera

This key follows Kim et al (2007) in merging Haliptilon and Cheilosporum into Jania.

Key to the genera Amphiroa, Corallina, Arthrocardia and Jania.


1 a. Conceptacles scattered over surface of thallus.


1 b. Conceptacles axial and terminal or on wings of segments


2 a. Branching throughout thallus pinnate; fertile segments usually terminal


2 b. Branching dichotomous in parts of or all of thallus


3 a. Branching dichotomous in fertile parts of thallus, pinnate in sterile parts


3 b. Branching either dichotomous in all axes, or dichotomous in main axes and pinnate in subsidiary axes



References Corallinoideae

Johansen, H. W. 1970. The diagnostic value of reproductive organs in some genera of articulated coralline red algae. British Phycological Journal 5: 79-86.

Kim, J. H., Guiry M. D., Oak, J. H., Choi, D. S., Hosung Chung, S-H. K., Choi, H-G., 2007. Phylogenetic relationships within the tribe Janieae (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) based on molecular and morphological data: A reappraisal of Jania. Journal of Phycology 43: 1310-1319.

Kogame, K., Uwai, S., Anderson, RJ., Choi, H.-G. & J.J. Bolton. 2017. DNA barcoding of South African geniculate coralline red algae (Corallinales, Rhodophyta). South African Journal of Botany 108: 337-341.

Maneveldt GW, Chamberlain YM, Keats DW 2008. A catalogue with keys to the non-geniculate red algae (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) of South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 74: 555-566.


Cite this record as:

Anderson RJ, Stegenga H, Bolton JJ. 2016. Seaweeds of the South African South Coast.
World Wide Web electronic publication, University of Cape Town,; Accessed on 19 April 2024.