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Asparagopsis armata Harvey 1855

Empire Eukaryota
Kingdom Plantae
Subkingdom Biliphyta
Phylum Rhodophyta
Subphylum Eurhodophytina
Class Florideophyceae
Subclass Rhodymeniophycidae
Order Bonnemaisoniales
Family Bonnemaisoniaceae
Genus Asparagopsis


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Asparagopsis armata Harvey
Cape Peron, Western Australia. J.M. Huisman. © J.M. Huisman.

Asparagopsis armata Harvey
Funchal, Madeira. 17 Jan 2019. Pedro Neves. © Pedro Neves (nevesdiver@gmail.com).

Asparagopsis armata Harvey
being used by the crab Macropodia deflexa at Hannafore, Cornwall.. 03 Apr 2017. David Fenwick. © David Fenwick.

Asparagopsis armata Harvey
being used by the crab Macropodia deflexa at Hannafore, Cornwall.. 03 Apr 2017. David Fenwick. © David Fenwick.

Asparagopsis armata Harvey
subtidal with Cystoseira baccata, Ría de A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, 2016. Ignacio Bárbara. © Ignacio Bárbara (barbara@udc.es).

Asparagopsis armata Harvey
ubtidal with Cystoseira baccata, Ría de A Coruña, Galicia, Spain. Ignacio Bárbara. © Ignacio Bárbara (barbara@udc.es).

Asparagopsis armata Harvey
1, 2. In habitat, subtidal, Cape Ba Lang An (Vietnam).. 29 Feb 2012. Eduard and Tamara Titlyanova (etitlyanov@mail.ru). © Eduard and Tamara Titlyanova (etitlyanov@mail.ru).

Asparagopsis armata Harvey
Collected near Roscoff (F), Dec 1984. 29 Dec 2011. Elmar Wosnitza. © Christine Wosnitza.

Asparagopsis armata Harvey
Galicia, Ría de Muros, 2011. 24 Oct 2011. Ignacio Bárbara. © Ignacio Bárbara (barbara@udc.es).

Asparagopsis armata Harvey
Spain, North of Galicia, 2009. 24 Oct 2011. Ignacio Bárbara. © Ignacio Bárbara (barbara@udc.es).

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44 Found - Displaying 1 through 10


Lomentaria acicularis (J.Agardh) Falkenberg

Asparagopsis armata Harvey Spain, North of Galicia, 2009
© Ignacio Bárbara (barbara@udc.es)

Publication details
Asparagopsis armata Harvey 1855: 544

Published in: Harvey, W.H. (1855). Some account of the marine botany of the colony of western Australia. Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy 22: 525-566.
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Type species
The type species (holotype) of the genus Asparagopsis is Asparagopsis delilei Montagne.

Status of name
This name is of an entity that is currently accepted taxonomically.

Type information
Type locality: Garden Island, Western Australia (Womersley 1996: 329). Lectotype: Harvey; Herb. Harvey, TCD Trav. Set 193 (Womersley 1996: 329). Notes: Syntype localities: Garden Island and King George Sound, Western Australia; Tasmania (Silva et al. 1996: 182).

Origin of species name
Adjective (Latin), equipped, armed (Stearn 1973).

Heterotypic Synonym(s)
Polysiphonia rufolanosa Harvey 1855
Polysiphonia vagabunda Harvey 1859
Falkenbergia rufolanosa (Harvey) F.Schmitz 1897
Falkenbergia vagabunda (Harvey) Falkenberg 1901
Falkenbergia olens A.H.S.Lucas 1919

Taxonomic notes
Treated as a species "complex" by Cormaci, Furnari & alongi (2020: 46). - (9 Mar 2020) - M.D. Guiry

Distributional notes
This species has been introduced into the Mediterranean (Verlaque et al. 2015: 109) being first found at Elba, Italy in 1880 and subsequently in Algeria in 1923. It is now frequent and widespread in the western Mediterranean. - (17 Aug 2009) - Pier Kuipers

Usage notes
Strong cytotoxicity against human cancer cell lines (Zubia et al. 2009). - (24 Mar 2010) - Wendy Guiry

General environment
This is a marine species.

Common names

(as Asparagopsis armata Harvey)
English: Harpoon weed (Anon. 2000).

Gaeilge: Feamainn mhuirgha (Anon. 2000).

In north-eastern Europe, gametophyte plants occurring from June or July - August or September (sometimes overwintering), pale purplish-red, quickly degenerating when removed from the water and becoming distinctly orange; fronds bushy, with a cylindrical axis to1 mm wide and 200 mm long, arising from bare, creeping stolons; irregularly branched, with 4 rows of branchlets, simple, short, branchlets alternating with longer ones with 4 rows of simple filamentous ramuli. Lower branchlets unbranched, long, tapered, with harpoon-like barbs. Tetrapsorophyte (“Falkenbergia-phase”) occurring all year round, but most obvious in October-March, brownish-red, much branched, filamentous, in dense cotton-wool-like tufts to 15 mm in diameter.

Both phases readily reproduce vegetatively. Drift specimens of gametophyte readily attach to other algae by barbed branchlets, and produce new shoots. Introduced from Southern Hemisphere, the gametophyte was first recorded in Europe in 1925 (Cherbourg and Biarritz), arriving in the Ireland and Britain at Galway in 1941, and is now well established in open sandy pools of lower intertidal and subtidal, on rock or epiphytic (mainly on Ulva spp.)in the Channel Is, S England (Swanage to Scilly Is.) and S and W Ireland (Carnsore Pt, Co. Wexford; Magharees Lagoon, Co. Kerry; and from Finavarra, Co. Clare north to Clare I., Co. Mayo). Tetrasporophyte epiphytic, especially on Corallina, in similar habitats to gametophyte, but more widely distributed on western and southern coast N to Shetland Is.

Key characteristics
The harpoon-like hooks and bushy habit are unmistakable; association with Ulva.

Similar species
Bonnemaisonia hamifera occurs in similar habitats but has crozier-shaped attachment branchlets rather than recurved barbs.

Detailed distribution with sources (Click to Load)

Key references
Athanasiadis, A. (2016). Phycologia Europaea Rhodophyta Vol. I. pp. [i]-xxxxviii, 1-762. Thessaloniki: Published and distributed by the author.

Bonin, D.R. & Hawkes, M.W. (1987). Systematics and life histories of New Zealand Bonnemaisoniaceae (Bonnemaisoniales, Rhodophyta): I. The genus Asparagopsis. New Zealand Journal of Botany 25: 577-590.

Boo, S.M. & Ko, Y.D. (2012). Marine plants from Korea. pp. [1] 5-233, many col. photographs. Seoul: Marine & Extreme Genome Research Centre Program. [in Korean]

Braune, W. (2008). Meeresalgen. Ein Farbbildführer zu den verbreiteten benthischen Grün- Braun- und Rotalgen der Weltmeere. pp. [1]-596, pls 1-266 (colour photographs). Ruggell: A.R.G. Gantner Verlag.

Cormaci, M., Furnari, G. & Alongi, G. (2020). Flora marina bentonica del Mediterraneo: Rhodophyta - Rhodymeniophycidae I. Acrosymphytales, Bonnemaisoniales, Gelidiales, Gigartinales, Gracilariales. Bollettino Accademia Gioenia di Scienze Naturali di Catania 53(38): 11-346, incl. 55 pls.

Dijoux, L., Viard, F., & Payri, C. (2014). The more we search, the more we find: discovery of a new lineage and a new species complex in the genus Asparagopsis. PLoS ONE 9(7): 1-13.

Funk, G. (1955). Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Meeresalgen von Neapel: Zugleich mikrophotographischer Atlas. Pubblicazioni della Stazione Zoologica di Napoli 25(Suppl.): i-x , 1-178, 36 figs.

Huisman, J.M. (2018). Algae of Australia. Marine benthic algae of north-western Australia. 2. Red algae. pp. [i]-xii, 1-672, 189 figs. Canberra & Melbourne: ABRS & CSIRO Publishing.

Huisman, J.M. (2019). Marine plants of Australia Revised edition. pp. [i]-xviii, [1]-435, numerous col. figs. Crawley Western Australia: UWA Publishing.

Loiseaux-de Goër, S. & Noailles, M.-C. (2008). Algues de Roscoff. pp. [1]-215, col. figs. Roscoff: Editions de la Station Biologique de Roscoff.

Nelson, W.A. (2013). New Zealand seaweeds. An illustrated guide. pp. [1]-328. Wellington: Te Papa Press.

Ní Chualáin, F., Maggs, C.A., Saunders, G.W. & Guiry, M.D. (2004). The invasive genus Asparagopsis (Bonnemaisoniaceae, Rhodophyta): molecular systematics, morphology, and ecophysiology of Falkenbergia isolates. Journal of Phycology 40: 1112-1126.

Rodríguez-Prieto, C., Ballesteros, E., Boisset, F. & Afonso-Carrillo, J. (2013). Guía de las macroalgas y fanerógamas marinas del Mediterráneo occidental. pp. [1]-656. Barcelona: Ediciones Omega, S.A..

Scott, F.J. (2017). Marine plants of Tasmania. pp. [i]-viii, 1-360, numerous col. illus. Hobart: Tasmania Herbarium, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

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: [i]-xiv, 1-1259.

Verlaque, M., Ruitton, S., Mineur, F. & Boudouresque, C.-F. (2015). CIESM atlas of exotic species of the Mediterranean. Macrophytes. pp. [1]-362, many photographs and maps. Monaco: CIESM Publishers.

Womersley, H.B.S. (1996). The marine benthic flora of southern Australia - Part IIIB - Gracilariales, Rhodymeniales, Corallinales and Bonnemaisoniales. pp. [1]-392, 160 figs. Canberra & Adelaide: Australian Biological Resources Study with assistance from the State Herbarium of South Australia.

Yoon, H.S., Nelson, W., Lindstrom, S.C., Boo, S.M., Pueschel, C., Qiu, H. & Bhattacharya, D. (2016). Rhodophyta. In: Handbook of the Protists. (Archibald, J.M, Simpson, A.G.B. & Samovits, C.H. Eds), pp. [1-45]. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Zanolla, M., Altamirano, M., Carmona, R., De la Rosa, J., Souza-Egipsy, V., Sherwood, A., Tsiamis, K., Barbosa, A.M., Muñoz, A.R. & Andreakis, N. (2018). Assessing global range expansion in a cryptic species complex: insights from the red seaweed genus Asparagopsis (Florideophyceae). Journal of Phycology 54(1): 12-24.

Zanolla, M., Carmona, R., De La Rosa, J., Salvador, N., Sherwood, A.R., Andreakis, N. & Altamirano, M. (2014). Morphological differentiation of cryptic lineages within the invasive genus Asparagopsis (Bonnemaisoniales, Rhodophyta). Phycologia 53(3): 233-242.

Created: 30 March 1996 by M.D. Guiry

Verified by: 09 March 2020 by M.D. Guiry

Accesses: This record has been accessed by users 40837 times since it was created.

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

Andreakis, N., Procaccini, G. & Kooistra, W.H.C.F. (2004). Asparagopis taxiformis and Asparagopsis armata (Bonnemaisoniales, Rhodophyta): genetic and morphological identification of Mediterranean populations. European Journal of Phycology 39: 273-284.
Aranda, J., Niell, F.X. & Fernández, J.A. (1984). Production of Asparagopsis armata (Harvey) in a thermally-stressed intertidal system of low tidal amplitude. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 84: 285-295.
Bruneau, Y., Codomier, L., Combaut, G. & Teste, J. (1978). Étude compatative des composés halogénés du Falkenbergia rufolanosa (Harv.) Schmitz et de l'Asparagopsis armata (Harv.): Rhodophycées bonnemaisoniales. Compte Rendu Hebdomadaire des Séances de l’Académie des Sciences. Paris. Série D 286: 603-605.
Bruneau, Y., Codomier, L., Combaut, G., and Teste, J. (). Étude comparative des composés halogénés du Falkenbergia rufolanosa (Harv.) Schmitz et de l'Asparagopsis armata (Harv.): Rhodophycées bonnemaisoniales. [sic] . Comp. Rend. Acad. Sc. Paris, parte D 286: 603-605. [in French]
Chemin, E. (1937). Répartition géographique et mode de dissémination d'Asparagopsis armata, Harv.. : 43-44.
Cleary, P. (2019). Culture optimisation in red seaweeds. Enhancing the production of Mycosporine-like aminoacids and pigments in Asparagopsis armata (Bonnemaisoniales, Rhodophyta). Algas 55: 20-25, 4 fig., 1 table.
Codomier, L., Bruneau, Y., Combaut, G. & Teste, J. (1977). Étude biologie et chimique d'Asparagopsis armata et de Falkenbergia rufolanosa (Rhodophycées bonnemaisoniales). Compte Rendu Hebdomadaire des Séances de l’Académie des Sciences. Paris. Série D 284: 1163-1165.
Codomier, L., Segot, M. & Combaut, G. (1979). Effets de l'iode sur la croissance des frondes d'Asparagopsis armata (Rhodophycées, Bonnemaisoniales) obtenues en culture à partir de rameaux à harpons. Giornale Botanico Italiano 113: 387-393.
Codomier, L., Segot, M. & Combaut, G. (1981). Influence de composés organiques haligénés sur la croissance d'Asparagopsis armata (Rhjodophycée, Bonnemaisoniale). Botanica Marina 24: 509-513.
Codomier, L., Segot, M. & Teste, J. (1979). Sur le developpement d'Asparagopsis armata (Rhodophycée, Bonnemaisoniale) en culture. Botanica Marina 22: 153-157.
Codomier, L., Segot, M., Combaut, G. & Teste, J. (1981). Sur le développemement d'Asparagopsis armata (Rhodophycée, Bonnemaisoniale) en culture. Effets de certaines substances azotées ou phosphorées inorganiques ou organiques. Botanica Marina 24: 43-49.
Codomier, L., Segot, M., Teste, J. & Jeanty, G. (1978). Sur la croissance et le développement des frondes d'Asparagopsis armata Harv. (Rhodophycée, Bonnemaisoniale) à pratir de rameaux à harpons mis en culture dans un milieu enrichi en brome. Bulletin de la Société Phycologique de France 23: 29-37.
Combaut, G., Bruneau, Y., Codomier, L. & Teste, J. (1979). Comparative sterols composition of the red alga Asparagopsis armata and its tetrasporophyte Falkenbergia rufolanosa. Journal of Natural Products 42: 150-151.
Combaut, G., Bruneau, Y., Teste, J. & Codomier, L. (1978). Composes halogens d'une algue rouge, Falkenbergia rufolanosa tetrasporophyte d'Asparagopsis armata. Phytochemistry 17: 1661-1663.
De Valéra, M. & Folan, A. (1964). Germination in situ of carpospores in Irish material of Asparagopsis armata Harv. and Bonnemaisonia asparagoides (Woodw.) Ag.. British Phycological Bulletin 2: 332-338.
De Valéra, M. (1942). A red alga new to Ireland: Asparagopsis armata Harv. on the west coast. Irish Naturalists' Journal 8: 30-33.
De Valéra, M. (1957). A note on the distribution of Asparagopsis armata and Falkenbergia rufolanosa in Ireland as compared with Spain. Collectanea Botanica 5: 377-380.
Dizerbo, A.H. (1964). L'écologie d'Asparagopsis armata Harv. et de Falkenbergia rufolanosa (Harv.) Schmitz dans le Massif Armoricain. Proceedings of the International Seaweed Symposium 4: 179-185.
Drew, K.M. (1950). Occurrence of Asparagopsis armata Harv. on the coast of Cornwall. Nature, London 161: 223.
Feldmann, J. & Feldmann, G. (1939). Sur le développement des carpospores et l'alternance de générations de l'Asparagopsis armata Harvey. Compte Rendu Hebdomadaire des Séances de l'Académie des Sciences, Paris 208: 1240-1242, Figs. A-E.
Flores-Moya, A. & Conde, F. (1992). Fenología y corología de Asparagopsis armata (Bonnemaisoniaceae, Rhodophyta) en el Mediterráneo. Acta Botanica Malacitana 17: 245-249.
Guiry, M.D. & Dawes, C.J. (1992). Daylength, temperature and nutrient control of tetrasporogenesis in Asparagopsis armata (Rhodophyta). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 158: 197-219.
Haslin, C. & Pellegrini, M. (2001). Culture medium composition for optimal thallus regeneration in the red alga Asparagopsis armata Harvey (Rhodophyta, Bonnemaisoniaceae). Botanica Marina 44: 23-30.
Haslin, C., Lahaye, M. & Pellegrini, M. (2000). Chemical composition and structure of sulphated water-soluble cell-wall polysaccharides from the gametic, carposporic and tetrasporic stages of Asparagopsis armata Harvey (Rhodophyta, Bonnemaisoniaceae). Botanica Marina 43: 475-482.
Horridge, G.A. (1951). Occurrence of Asparagopsis armata Harv. on the Scilly Isles. Nature, London 167: 732-733.
Kraan, S. & Barrington, K. (2005). Commercial farming of Asparagopsis armata (Bonnemaisoniaceae, Rhodophyta) in Ireland, maintenance of an introduced species. Journal of Applied Phycology 17: 103-110.
Mata, L., Silva, J., Schuenhoff, A. & Santos R. (2007). Is the tetrasporophyte of Asparagopsis armata (Bonnemaisoniales) limted by inorganic carbon in integrated aquaculture?. Journal of Phycology 43: 1252-1258.
Mata, L.; Schuenhoff, A. & Santos, R. (2010). A direct comparison of the performance of the seaweed biofilters, Asparagopsis armata and Ulva rigida. J. Appl. Phycol. 22: 639-644.
McLachlan, J. (1967). Tetrasporangia in Asparagopsis armata. British Phycological Bulletin 3: 251-252.
Pacios, I.,Guerra-Garcia, J.M. Baeza-Rojano, E. & Cabezas, M.P. (2011). The non-native seaweed Asparagopsis armata supports a diverse crustacean assemblage. Marine Environmental Research 71(4): 275-282.
Paul, N.A., Cole, L., de Nys, R. & Steinberg, P.D. (2006). Ultrastructure of the gland cells of the red alga Asparagopsis armata (Bonnemaisoniaceae). Journal of Phycology 42: 637-645.
Sauvageau, C. (1925). Sur la naturalisation en France d'une Floridée australasienne de l'iode (Asparagopsis armata Harv.) et sur ses ioduques. Compte Rendu Hebdomadaire des Séances de l’Académie des Sciences. Paris. 180???-???: .
Segot, M. & Codomier, L. (1981). Culture media with enriched seawater: Optimal and inhibitory concentrations of some chemical compounds added to seawater for the culture of Asparagopsis armata (Rhodophyceae, Bonnemaisoniales). Botanica Marina 24: 63-67.
Segot, M. & Codomier, L. (1981). Milieu de culture á eau de mer enrichie: Concentrations maximales et inhibitrices de certains composés chimiques ajoutés á l'eau de mer pour la culture d'Asparagopsis armata (Rhodophycée, Bonnemaisoniale). Botanica Marina 24: 63-67.
Svedelius, N. (1933). On the development of Asparagopsis armata Harv. and Bonnemaisonia asparagoides (Woodw.) Ag. A contribution to the cytology of the haplobiontic Rhodophyceae. Nova Acta Reg. Soc. sci. Ups. 9(1): 1-61.
Thomas, L. (1955). Observaciones sobre la ecología de las formas Asparagopsis armata-Falkenbergia rufolanosa y un nuevo órgano de reproduccíon. Collectanea Botanica 4(3): 399-407.

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M.D. Guiry in Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. 2021. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 21 September 2021.

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