Callophyllis flabellulata

Callophyllis flabellulata Harvey

Type locality: Esquimalt Harbor, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada (Dawson 1954). Lectotype (cystocarpic): David Lyall; February 1860; dredged from 8 fathoms and “cast ashore” (Clarkston & Saunders 2013). Notes: Dawson (1954) A syntype is in the Agardh Herbarium according to Kylin. A syntype, ex. Herb. Harvey is in the HAHF.

Etymology: Callophyllis, from Latin: Callum (Callus, induration); from ancient Greek: phyllis (phullis, “foliage”); flabellulata, from Latin: flabellu = fan; lata = wide.

Common name: Red sea fan.

1. Taxonomy

Class: Florideophyceae

Order: Gigartinales

Family: Kallymeniaceae

2. Identification

Thalli uniaxial, thick and circular to fan-shaped. Blades have irregular size and shape (usually dichotomous) with smooth margins arising from discoid holdfasts (Figs. 1, 2). Specimens are 4-18 cm tall (this specimen is 18 cm tall) of orange red to dark red color and sometimes it can be black in color when drying. The main axis branches up to 5 times with diminishing width and divides finely at distal ends (Abbott & Hollenberg 1976).

The medulla is composed of large pseudoparenchymatous cells. The cortex is 4 or 5 cells thick. The cells become progressively smaller towards the surface (Abbott & Hollenberg 1976). In a cross-section is possible to view the medulla throughout the plant. The medulla is composed of large isodiametric cells among which are chains of small cells (Fig. 3; Gabrielson et al. 2012).

3. Distribution:

This specimen was collected at Mosquito Pass, dredged at depth 10-20 m (48° 35’ 44.66’’ N; 123° 10’ 30.1’’ W). Usually, it is possible to find C. flabellulata on rocks or epiphytically below the intertidal zone, to 40 m (Braune 2011).

C. flabellulata has been registered and collected in Alaska, Aleutian Islands, British Columbia (1, 2, 3), Washington (1, 2), California (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), Mexico and Baja California (see Guiry & Guiry 2013). In Washington state (US), according with specimens deposited in the Friday Harbor Laboratories Herbarium, the regional distribution is focused in sites near San Juan Island: Salmon Bank, Hein Bank, Jones Island, and Kanaka Bay. Further, a specimen cited as Callophyllis with morphology similar to C. flabellulata has been collected at Canoe Island (Specimen deposited at Friday Harbor Laboratories Herbarium).

4. Vouchers:

Number specimens that were prepared in the development of this page: #1
Preservation: Herbarium Marine Algae Course Summer 2013.
ID PHYKOS: #00122

5. Research Notes

 The genus Callophyllis Kützing (1843) has been described as one of the most taxonomically perplexing genera of red algae on the Pacific coast of North America and was originally established for two species: C. variegata (Bory de Saint-Vincent) Kützing from Chile and C. laciniata (Hudson) Kützing from Europe (Clarkston & Saunders 2013). It has grown into the largest genus in the family Kallymeniaceae (ca. 57 current species; Guiry & Guiry 2013) with species found in most temperate seas (Clarkston & Saunders 2013). Currently, there are nine Callophyllis species reported from British Columbia, Canada, to Southern California, U.S.A. (Gabrielson et al. 2012).

The knowledge on ecological and biological aspects of C. flabellulata is poor (see link of search). The species type (lectotype) of the genus Callophyllis is C. variegata (Guiry & Guiry 2013). C. variegata is distributed across New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, South America, Antarctica and Sub-Antarctic regions (see Guiry & Guiry 2013). Experiences in other parts of the world (e.g. Chile, known by the common name of “Carola”; Mansilla et al. 2012) indicate that C. variegata is an alga exported as raw material for direct human consumption for its bright colors and high content of minerals and vitamins (Buschmann et al. 2001). Likewise, C. variegata has been important in the development of the carrageenan industry and is one the most important harvested carrageenophyte reaching almost U.S. $ 30 / dry kg (e.g. Chile; see Buschmann et al. 2001). However, these types of practices are unknown in the north Pacific Coast. It has been demonstrated that the holdfast has a high regeneration capacity that enables the sustainable harvest of Callophyllis populations. Its carpospores are available during winter, whereas the tetraspores are available during spring (Buschmann et al. 2001). Furthermore, the process of coalescence has been well documented in the genus Callophyllis (C. firma (Kylin) R. E. Norris) (Santelices et al. 1999) and it has been reported as an epiphytic alga (C. variegata) on Chondracanthus chamissoi (C.Agardh) Kützing (Vásquez & Vega 2008).

6. Literature Cited

Abbott, I.A. and G.J., Hollenberg. 1976. Marine algae of California. Stanford University Press. Stanford.

Braune, W. 2011. Seaweeds. A colour guide to common benthic green, brown and red algae of the world’s oceans. Koeltz Scientific Books, Germany.

Clarkston, B.E., and Saunders, G.W. 2013. Resolving species diversity in the red algal genus Callophyllis (Kallymeniaceae, Gigartinales) in Canada using molecular in Canada. Eur. J. Phycol. 48: 27-46.

Buschmann, A.H., Correa, J.A., Westermeier, R., Hernández-González and M.C., Norambuena, R. 2001. Red algal farming in Chile: a review. Aquaculture. 194: 203-220.

Gabrielson, P.W., Lindstrom, S.C. and O’Kelly, C. 2012. Keys to the seaweeds and seagrasses of Southeast Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. Phycological Contribution Number 8. Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Guiry, M.D. and Guiry, G.M. 2013. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.

Mansilla, A., Ávila, M. and Yokoya, NS. 2012. Current knowledge on biotechnological interesting seaweeds from the Magellan Region, Chile. Rev. Bras. Farmacogn. Braz. J. Pharmacogn. 22: 760-767.

Vásquez, J.A. and Vega, J.M.A. 2001. Chondracanthus chamissoi (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales) in northern Chile: ecological aspects for management of wild populations. J. Appl. Phycol. 13: 267-277.

7. Links to additional resources

 For more information:

For more images:

For molecular data:

8. Page Authors & Affiliations

 Author: Mauricio H. Oróstica

Affiliations: 1) Ecology Marine Lab ( Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA), Larrondo 1281, Coquimbo, Chile. 2) Universidad de Atacama-CRIDESAT. Copayapu 485, Copiapó, Chile ( Email:

C. flabellulataFigure 1. Specimen on shell identified as C. flabellulata.

Holdfast_C. flabellulataFigure 2. Holdfast of C. flabellulata on shell.

cross-section of C. flabellulataFigure 3. Cross-section of blade of C. flabellulata (20x).