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Order Gigartinales

Family Cystocloniaceae

Hypnea musciformis (Wulfen) J. V. Lamouroux 1813: 43

Plants reddish brown, a few to about 15 cm long, more or less caespitose, usually entangled with other algae in turfs. No percurrent main axis, major branches irregularly ramified; branch-ends often curved into hooks; apices often with short spinous branchlets; main axes sometimes with very profuse short (1-3 mm ) side branches. Main axes about 1mm diameter, in cross-section central filament not easily visible; medulla comprising relatively thick-walled cells up to 100 µm in diameter. Tetrasporangial stichidia short, branched, spinous.

Collections, ecology and regional distribution

Found in algal turfs in the mid - lower eulittoral zone, and in rock pools and the shallow subtidal zone, throughout the south and east coasts from just west of Cape Agulhas to northern KwaZulu-Natal (23-58). Intertidal plants tend to be shorter, while long specimens may be found in sheltered pools or in the subtidal.

World distribution: Widespread in warm temperate-tropical regions, including the African east coast (Guiry & Guiry 2015).

Type locality: Trieste, Italy (Silva et al. 1996).

Note: A current molecular study indicates that this species may not occur in South Africa at all, and that specimens ascribed to it may be H. rosea (pers. comm. V. Johnson).


Hypnea musciformis, Port Alfred (BOL). Smallest scale divisions 1 mm.

Hypnea musciformis, fresh material, Arniston.

Hypnea musciformis, detail of branch tips, fresh material, Arniston.

Hypnea musciformis, fresh specimen, Hluleka.

Hypnea musciformis, longitudinal section with tetrasporangia. Reproduced from Stegenga et al. (1997).

Hypnea musciformis, habit. Reproduced from Stegenga et al. (1997).


References Hypnea musciformis

Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2015. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.; searched on 31 March 2015.

Lamouroux, J.V.F. 1813. Essai sur les genres de la famille des thalassiophytes non articulées. Annales du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris 20: 21-47, 115-139, 267-293, Plates 7-13.

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.

Stegenga, H., Bolton, J.J. & R. J. Anderson. 1997. Seaweeds of the South African west coast. Contributions from the Bolus Herbarium 18: 655 pp.


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.