Harpoon weed (Asparagopsis armata)
|Researched by||Marie Skewes||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland
Tetrasporophyte plants occur as far north as Shetland but not eastern Scotland. Gametophyte plants (red on the map) are described as present in south-west England and in western Ireland but occur sporadically and may be absent for many years.
Outside of the British Isles this red alga extends to the Atlantic coast of France, Spain and Portugal into the Mediterranean. It originated in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
The sexual (gametophyte) plant is found in the shallow sublittoral or in deep littoral pools attached to other algae by its barbed axes. The asexual (tetrasporophyte) plant is typically found sublittorally and is epiphytic or sometimes free-living.
- Apical tufts of sexual (gametophyte) plant pyramidal in outline, composed of spirally-arranged branches arising in pairs.
- The plants have barbed rhizoids which are smooth except for the barbs.
- Cystocarps are shortly stalked, relatively large and clustered on main axis.
Additional informationThe asexual (tetrasporangial) phase of Asparagopsis armata was once described as a separate species, Falkenbergia rufolanosa. The alga is a non-native species first recorded in Ireland in Galway Bay in 1939 and Britain in 1949 at Lundy in the Bristol Channel.
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OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System), 2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-12-10
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Last Updated: 27/06/2003