RHODOPHYTA : PLOCAMIALES : PlocamiaceaeRED ALGAE

Plocamium cartilagineum (Linnaeus) Dixon


Description: Thallus grows from a discoid holdfast to form a frond with distinctive pectinate branching. The frond, up to 15 cms long, is generally flattened and the profuse sympodial branching. The final branchlets are comb-like in groups of 2 - 6 in regular sequence, each group alternating with a similar group on the other side. Gametangial and tetrasporangial plants are similar.

Habitat: Common. Epilithic and epiphytic in the lower littoral and sublittoral to 30 m or more.

Distribution: All around the British Isles including the Shetlands. Europe: Mediterranean, Azores, Portugal, Atlantic coast of Spain and France, Norway, Faroes and Iceland. Further afield: Pacific America from Alaska to California, Chile and the Galapagos Islands, Canary Islands and Australia. Widespread in temperate seas.

Similar Species: Sphaerococcus coronopifolius and Callophyllis cristata are similar but do not show the distinctive branching pattern. Recent studies have shown that there are actually four species of Plocamium in Northern Europe, P. cartilagineum, Plocamium subtile, Plocamium nanum and Plocamium maggsiae (Saunders & Lehmkuhl, 2005).

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map from BioMar data for Ireland - Google Earth map:  download this placemark (not got Google Earth installed?)

Distribution Map from NBN: Grid map (fast) : Interactive map (slow, requires login to view records) : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.


 Morton, O. & Picton, B.E., 2010. [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland
http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZM6310

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