155,784 species and infraspecific names are in the database, 21,968 images, 60,214 bibliographic items, 439,333 distributional records.

Taxonomy Detail

Phylum Glaucophyta

Glaucophyta Skuja, 1948: 56.

Original publication: Skuja, H. (1948). Taxonomie des Phytoplanktons einiger Seen in Uppland, Schweden. Symbolae Botanicae Upsalienses 9(3): 1-399, 39 pls.

The glaucophytes, also referred to as glaucocystophytes or glaucocystids, are a tiny group of freshwater and terrestrial algae distinguished mainly by the presence primitive chloroplasts that closely resemble cyanobacteria and retain a thin peptidoglycan wall between their two membranes. It is thought that the green algae (from which the higher plants evolved), red algae and glaucophytes acquired their chloroplasts from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria. The other types of algae received their chloroplasts through secondary endosymbiosis, by engulfing one of those types of algae along with their chloroplasts. The glaucophytes are of obvious interest to biologists studying the development of chloroplasts: if the hypothesis that primary chloroplasts had a single origin is correct, glaucophytes are closely related to both green plants and red algae, and may be similar to the original alga type from which all of these developed. The chloroplasts of glaucophytes, like the cyanobacteria and the chloroplasts of red algae, use phycobiliproteins to capture some wavelengths of light; the green algae and higher plants have lost that pigment. he members are unique in that they contain unusual plastids (originally named ‘cyanelles’) having two membranes, with several characteristics similar to Cyanobacteria. The plastids contain only chlorophyll a and phycobilins. Similar to red algae, plastids have unstacked thylakoids and light-harvesting proteins organized into phycobilisomes. Currently, thirteen species have been described in five genera. Glaucophytes have mitochondria with flat cristae, and undergo open mitosis without centrioles. Motile forms have two unequal flagella, which may have fine hairs and are anchored by a multilayered system of microtubules, both of which are similar to forms found in some green algae.


Also known as the Glaucocystophyta.

(Please note: only references with the binomials in the title are included. The information is from the Literature database.)

Abdel-Ghany, S.E., Kugrens, P. & Reddy, A.S.N. (2000). CpKLP1: A calmodulin-binding kinesin-like protein from Cyanophora paradoxa (Glaucophyta). Journal of Phycology 36: 686-692.

Broady, P.A. (2012). Phylum Glaucophyta: glaucophtes. In: New Zealand inventory of biodiversity. Volume Three. Kingdoms Bacteria, Protozoa, Chromista, Plantae, Fungi. (Gordon, D.P. Eds), pp. 325-326. Christchurch: Canterbury University Press.

Kugrens, P., Clay, B.L., Meyer, C.J. & Lee, R.E. (1999). Ultrastructure and description of Cyanophora biloba, sp. nov., with additional observations on C. paradoxa (Glaucophyta). Journal of Phycology 35: 844-854, 22 figs.

Nozaki, H., Maruyama, S., Matsuzaku, M., Nakada, T., Kato, S. & Misawa, K. (2009). Phylogenetic positions of Glaucophyta, green plants (Archaeplastida) and Haptophyta (Chromalveolata) as deduced from slowly evolving nuclear genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 53(3): 872-880.

Skuja, H. (1954). III. Abteilung: Glaucophyta. In: A. Engler's Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien: mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der Nutzpflanzen nebst einer Übersicht über die Florenreiche und Florengebiete der Erde, 12th ed. I Band Allgemeiner Teil Bakterien bis Gymnospermen. Mit 141 Abbildungen. (Melchior, H. & Werdermann, E. Eds), pp. 56-57. Berlin-Nikolassee: Gebrüder Borntaeger.

Starmach, K. (1966). Cyanophyta-Sinice. Glaucophyta-Glaukofity. In: Flora slodkowodna Polski. Tom 2. (Starmach, K. Eds), pp. 807. Warszawa: Panstwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.

Takahashi, T., Nishida, T., Saito, C., Yasuda, H. & Nozaki, H. (2016). A new type of 3-D peripheral ultrastructure in Glaucocystis (Glaucocystales, Glaucophyta) as revealed by ultra-high voltage electron microscopy (Note). Journal of Phycology 52(3): 486-490.

Takahashi, T., Sato, M., Toyooka, K., Matsuzaki, R., Kawafune, K., Kawamura, M., Okuda, K. & Nozaki, H. (2014). Five Cyanophora (Cyanophorales, Glaucophyta) species delineated based on morphological and molecular data. Journal of Phycology 50(6): 1058-1069.

Whitton, B.A. (2002). Phylum Glaucophyta. In: The Freshwater Algal Flora of the British Isles. An identification guide to freshwater and terrestrial algae. (John, D.M., Whitton, B.A. & Brook, A.J. Eds), pp. 613 only. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Whitton, B.A. (2011). Phylum Glaucophyta. In: The freshwater algal flora of the British Isles. An identification guide to freshwater and terrestrial algae. Second edition. (John, D.M., Whitton, B.A. & Brook, A.J. Eds), pp. 766-767. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Linking to this page: http://www.algaebase.org/browse/taxonomy/detail/?taxonid=4301

Citing AlgaeBase
Cite this record as:
Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2019. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 16 July 2019.

Algaebase taxon LSID: urn:lsid:algaebase.org:taxname:4301

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