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Order Halymeniales

Family Halymeniacaeae

Codiophyllum natalense J. E. Gray 1872: 139-141, pl.IX

Plants living in a symbiotic relationship with a sponge; thalli red, up to about 25 cm tall, comprising a robust bare, rather “woody” terete to subterete stipe 5-20 mm in diameter and up to 10 cm long, branching distally, the branches bearing fan-shaped blades comprising an interwoven matrix of sponge tissue and filiform algal branches 100-200 µm in diameter. Medulla of compact filaments, some highly refractive; cortex of 4-5 layers of cells. Reproductive structures borne on small leaflets that are free of sponge; tetrasporangia abundant on both surfaces of leaflets, ellipsoidal and ca. 15 x 25 µm, cruciately or decussately divided. Cystocarps 120-150 µm in diameter, immersed in subcortical layer.

Collections ecology and regional distribution

Collected from Woody Cape, inshore of Bird Island (in drift), to Protea Banks (attached) in southern Kwazulu-Natal (37-48): De Clerck et al. (2005) point out that more northerly records (including that of the type specimen) are probably of drift specimens. Epilithic on deeper reefs (to at least 40 m); often a dominant species on deep reefs in southern Kwazulu-Natal (De Clerck et al. 2005) and usually found in beach-wrack, e.g. at Port Alfred.

World distribution: South African endemic.

Type locality: “Coast of Natal” (Gray 1872: 139) but reported to be Port Natal (Durban) by Papenfuss in Silva et al. (1996).

Note: A detailed description of this species is provided by Chiang (1970).


Codiophyllum natalense, Port Alfred (BOL).

Codiophyllum natalense, Woody Cape (BOL).

Codiophyllum natalense, “part of terminal margin of lamina” (re-drawn from Chiang 1970, Fig 20b).


References Codiophyllum

Chiang, Y-M. (1970). Morphological studies of red algae of the family Cryptonemiaceae. University of California Publications in Botany 58: 95 pp.

De Clerck, O., J.J.Bolton, R. J. Anderson and E. Coppejans, 2005. Guide to the Seaweeds of Kwazulu-Natal. National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Brussels (Scripta Botanica Belgica), 294 pp.

Gray, J. E. (1872). On Codiophyllum, a new genus of unicellular green algae from Port Natal. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., ser 4., 10: 139-141, pl. 9.

Silva, P.C., Basson, P.W. & Moe, R.L. 1996. Catalogue of the benthic marine algae of the Indian Ocean. University of California Publications in Botany 79: 1-1259.


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 24 May 2024.