BIOTIC Species Information for Lithophyllum incrustans
Researched byDr Keith Hiscock Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr Yvonne Chamberlain
Scientific nameLithophyllum incrustans Common nameAn encrusting coralline alga
MCS CodeZM231 Recent SynonymsNone

PhylumRhodophycota Subphylum
Superclass ClassRhodophyceae
SubclassFloridophycidae OrderCorallinales
Suborder FamilyCorallinaceae
GenusLithophyllum Speciesincrustans

Additional InformationDifficult to identify with certainty in the field and often recorded as 'lithothamnia' or 'encrusting Rhodophycota (indet.)' in surveys.
Taxonomy References Hiscock, 1986b, Irvine & Chamberlain, 1994,
General Biology
Growth formCrustose hard
Feeding methodPhotoautotroph
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpilithic
Typical food typesNot relevant HabitAttached
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityNone (< 10 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeMedium-large(21-50cm)
HeightInsufficient information Growth Rate<7 mm/year
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationDominant in rockpools and over much of the lower shore and sublittoral fringe at least. Covers the surface of rocks under canopies of algae.
Biology References Littler, 1972, Irvine & Chamberlain, 1994,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandPresent all around the British Isles but rarer on the east coast between Yorkshire and east Kent. Encrusting coralline species are difficult to distinguish and few surveys record to species level. Its distribution is probably under recorded.
Global distributionPresent in the Faroes, Norway at least south from Trondheimfjord to Spain and the Mediterranean. May also be present in Morocco and Mauritania. Recorded in South Africa (Chamberlain 1996)
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth rangeMid-littoral to at least 8 m.
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationNo text entered

Substratum preferencesRockpools
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Offshore seabed
Strait / sound
Ria / Voe
Biological zoneMid Eulittoral
Lower Eulittoral
Sublittoral Fringe
Upper Infralittoral
Wave exposureExtremely Exposed
Very Exposed
Moderately Exposed
Very Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowVery Strong (>6 kn)
Strong (3-6 kn)
Moderately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
Very Weak (negligible)
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Variable (18-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Irvine & Chamberlain, 1994, Chamberlain, 1996, Hardy & Guiry, 2003,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismSpores (sexual / asexual)
Reproductive SeasonOctober to April Reproductive LocationInsufficient information
Reproductive frequencyBiannual episodic Regeneration potential No
Life span21-50 years Age at reproductive maturity2-3 years
Generation timeInsufficient information FecunditySee additional information
Egg/propagule sizeInsufficient information Fertilization typeInsufficient information
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential>10km Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stageInsufficient information   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationGametangial and tetrasporangial plants occur commonly on some shores in Devon and Cornwall but are rare in the north. The 'Time of first and last gamete' refers to the time when reproductive types occur however, some conceptacles are present throughout the year. (Irvine & Chamberlain 1994.) Assuming one layer of conceptacles is produced each year, plants up to 30 years old are reported (Edyvean pers. comm.. in Irvine & Chamberlain 1994). Reproductive types occur from October to April but tail-off into summer. It has been calculated that 1 mm x 1mm of reproductive thallus produces 17.5 million bispores per year with average settlement of only 55 sporelings/year (Edyvean & Ford 1984)
Reproduction References Irvine & Chamberlain, 1994, Edyvean & Ford, 1984, Edyvean & Ford, 1987,
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