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Family Bonnemaisoniaceae

Genus Asparagopsis Montagne 1841: xiv

Gametophyte thalli erect, long terete axes with dense plumose lateral branches; axes uniaxial, with axial cell and 3 pericentral cells; usually with additional cortication; numerous gland (secretory) cells present; monoecious or dioecious. Tetrasporophyte (“Falkenbergia”) phase filamentous, irregularly branched, forming tufts; axial cell with 3 pericentral cells, gland cells present; tetrasporangia formed by transformation of one of pericentral cells, tetraspores cruciately or irregularly divided.

The plumose gametophyte of Asparagopsis is only recorded on the south coast in Knysna Lagoon. The filamentous tetrasporophytes of the two species are indistinguishable, but most south coast material is thought to be A. armata (see Bolton et al. 2011).


Key to species

1a. Thallus plumose, bushy, to ca. 8 cm tall (gametophyte)

Asparagopsis taxiformis

1b. Thallus filamentous, like pink/red tufts of cotton-wool (tetrasporophyte)

Asparagopsis armata or A. taxifomis 


References Asparagopsis

Bolton, J.J., Andreakis, N., Anderson, R.J. 2011. Molecular evidence for three separate cryptic introductions of the red seaweed Asparagopsis (Bonnemaisoniales, Rhodophyta) in South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science, 33: 263-271.

Montagne, C. 1841. Plantae cellulares. In Barker-Webb, P. and Bertholt, S. Histoire naturelle des Iles Canaries. Vol. 3, pp. 161-208, 1-xv, Plates 5, 7, 8.


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 26 February 2024.