Mesophyllum erubescens (Corallinales, Rhodophyta)—so many species in one epithet

Marina N. Sissini, Mariana C. Oliveira, Paul W. Gabrielson, Néstor M. Robinson, Yuri B. Okolodkov, Rafael Riosmena-Rodríguez, Paulo A. Horta


The name Mesophyllum erubescens has been applied to protuberant rhodolith specimens which sometimes occur abundantly, as well as to encrusting specimens in tropical and temperate waters in the Western Pacific, Indian and Western Atlantic Oceans. A DNA sequence, representing about 20% of the rbcL gene, was obtained from the 140 year old holotype specimen collected in the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago by the Challenger Expedition. This sequence was identical to field-collected topotype specimens as well as to specimens ranging south along the coast of Brazil. Sequences for psbA from these same Brazilian specimens and specimens from the east coast of Mexico were identical or differed by 1 base pair. In contrast, specimens called M. erubescens based on morpho-anatomical characters in the Pacific Ocean differed from Western Atlantic Ocean specimens by 2.5–13.1%, indicating that these represent numerous distinct species. All reports of non-geniculate coralline species said to be widely distributed across different oceans or in different biogeographic provinces based on morpho-anatomical characters need to be verified by DNA sequences.


Cryptic species, DNA Barcoding, Hapalidiaceae

Full Text:

PDF/A (16.16 MB)


Adey, W.H. (1966) The genera Lithothamnium, Leptophytum (nov. gen.) and Phymatolithon in the Gulf of Maine. Hydrobiologia 28: 321–370.

Adey, W.H. (1970) A revision of the Foslie crustose coralline herbarium. Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs Skrifter 1: 1–46.

Areschoug, J.E. (1852) Ordo XII Corallinaceae. In: Agardh, J. (Ed.) Species, Genera, et Ordines Algarum Vol. 2, Gleerup, Lund, pp. 506–576.

Athanasiadis, A. (1999) Mesophyllum macedonis nov. sp. (Rhodophyta, Corallinales), a putative Tethyan relic in the North Aegean Sea. European Journal of Phycology 34: 239–252.

Athanasiadis, A., Lebednik, P.A. & Adey, W.H. (2004) The genus Mesophyllum (Melobesioideae, Corallinales, Rhodophyta) on the northern Pacific coast of North America. Phycologia 43: 126–165.

Bahia, R.G., Abrantes, D.P., Brasileiro, P.S., Pereira Filho, G. H. & Amado Filho, G.M. (2010) Rhodolith bed structure along a depth gradient on the northern coast of Bahia State, Brazil. Brazilian Journal on Oceanography 58: 323–337.

Bailey, J.C. & Chapman, R.L. (1996) Evolutionary relationships among coralline red algae (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta) inferred from 18S rRNA gene sequence analysis. In: Chaudhary, B. R. & Agrawal, S.B. (Eds.) Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology of Algae. Academic Publishing, Amsterdam, pp. 363–376.

Basso, D., Rodondi, G. & Bressan, G. (2011) A re-description of Lithothamnion crispatum and the status of Lithothamnion superpositum (Rhodophyta, Corallinales). Phycologia 50: 144–155. http://dx

Bittner, L., Payri C.E., Maneveldt, G.W., Couloux, A., Cruaud, C., Reviers, B. & Le Gall, L. (2011) Evolutionary history of the Corallinales (Corallinophycidae, Rhodophyta) inferred from nuclear, plastidial and mitochondrial genomes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61: 697–713. http://dx

Broom, J.E.S., Hart, D.R., Farr, T.J., Nelson, W.A., Neil, K.F., Harvey, A.S. & Woelkerling, W.J. (2008) Utility of psbA and nSSU for phylogenetic reconstruction in the Corallinales based on New Zealand taxa. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 46: 958–973.

Darriba, D., Taboada, G.L., Doallo, R. & Posada, D. (2011) jModelTest 2: more models, new heuristics and parallel computing. Nature Methods 9: 772.


De Toni, G.B. (1895) Phyceae japonicae novae addita enumeratione algarum in ditione maritima Japoniae hucusque collectarum. Memorie del Reale Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti 25: 78.

Dickie, G. (1974) Enumeration of algae collected at Fernando de Noronha. Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 14: 363–365.

Ellis, J. 1767. Extract of a letter from John Ellis, Esquire, F.R.S. to Dr. Linnaeus of Upsala, F.R.S. on the animal nature of the genus of zoophytes, called Corallina. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 57: 404–427.

Farias, J. (2009) Aspectos taxonômicos de Lithothamnion superpositum e Mesophyllum engelhartii (Corallinales; Rhodophyta) do Brasil. Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, 61 pp.

Farr, T., Broom, J., Hart, D., Neill, K. & Nelson, W. (2009) Common coralline algae of northern New Zealand: an identification guide. Science Communication, NIWA, Wellington, 125 pp.

Figueiredo, M.A.O. & Steneck, R.S. (2000) Floristic and ecological studies of crustose coralline algae on Brazil’s Abrolhos reefs. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium. Bali pp. 493–498.

Figueiredo, M.A.O., Menezes, K.S., Paiva, E.M.C., Paiva, P.C. & Ventura, C.R.R. (2007) Evaluación experimental de rodolitos como sustratos vivos para la infauna em el Banco de Abrolhos, Brasil. Ciencias Marinas 33: 427–440.

Floeter, S.R., Guimarães, R.Z.P., Rocha, L.A., Ferreira, C.E.L., Rangel, C.A. & Gasparini, J.L. (2001) Geographic variation in reef-fish assemblages along the Brazilian coast. Global Ecology and Biogeography 10: 423-–433.

Foslie, M. (1898) Systematical survey of the Lithothamnia. Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs Skrifter 2: 1–7.

Foslie, M. (1900a) Calcareous algae from Funafuti. Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs Skrifter 1: 1–12.

Foslie, M. (1900b) New or critical calcareous algae. Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs Skrifter 5: 1–34.

Foslie, M. (1901a) New forms of Lithothamnia. Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs Skrifter 3: 1–6.

Foslie, M. (1901b) New Melobesieae. Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs Skrifter 6: 2–24.

Foslie, M. (1904) Algologiske notiser. Norske Videnskabers Selskabs Skrifter 2: 1–9.

Foslie, M. (1906) Den botaniske samling. Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs Skrifter 10: 17–24.

Freshwater, D.W. & Rueness, J. (1994) Phylogenetic relationships of some European Gelidium (Gelidiales, Rhodophyta) species, based on rbcL nucleotide sequence analysis. Phycologia 33: 187–194.

Gabrielson, P.W. (2008) Molecular sequencing of Northeast Pacific type material reveals two earlier names for Prionitis lyallii, Prionitis jubata and Prionitis sternbergii, with brief comments on Grateloupia versicolor (Halymeniaceae, Rhodophyta). Phycologia 47: 89–97.

Gabrielson, P.W., Miller, K.A. & Martone, P.T. (2011) Morphometric and molecular analyses confirm two distinct species of Calliarthron (Corallinales, Rhodophyta), a genus endemic to the northeast Pacific. Phycologia 50: 298–316.

Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. (2014) AlgaeBase, World-wide electronic publication. National University of Ireland, Galway. Available from: (accessed 20 May 2014)

Hall, T.A. (1999) BioEdit: a user-friendly biological alignment editor and analysis program for Windows 95/98/NT. Nucleic Acids Symposium Series 41: 95–98.

Harvey, W.H. (1849) Phycologia Britannica. Reeve and Benham, London, 546 pp.

Harvey, A., Woelkerling, W., Farr, T., Neill, K. & Nelson, W. (2005) Coralline algae of central New Zealand: an identification guide to common ‘crustose’ species. NIWA, Wellington, 145 pp.

Heydrich, F. (1897) Corallinaceae, insbesondere Melobesieae. Berichte der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft 15: 34–71.

Hoorn, C. (1994) An environmental reconstruction of the paleo-Amazon River system (Middle-Late Miocene, NW Amazonia). Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Palaeoecology 112: 187–238.

Horta, P.A. (2002) Bases para a identificação das coralináceas não articuladas do litoral brasileiro—uma síntese do conhecimento. Biotemas 15: 7–44.

Horta, P.A., Amancio, C.E., Coimbra, C. & Oliveira, E.C. (2001) Considerações sobre a distribuição e origem da flora de macroalgas marinhas brasileiras. Hoehnea 28: 243–265.

Horta, P.A., Salles, J.P., Bouzon, J.L., Scherner, F., Cabral, D.Q. & Bouzon, Z.L. (2008) Composição e estrutura do fitobentos do infralitoral da Reserva Biológica Marinha do Arvoredo, Santa Catarina, Brasil - Implicações para conservação. Oecologia Brasiliensis 12: 243–257.

Horta, P. A., Scherner, F., Bouzon, Z. L., Riosmena-Rodriguez, R. & Oliveira, E. C. (2011) Morphology and reproduction of Mesophyllum erubescens (Foslie) Me. Lenoime (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) of Southern Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Botânica 34: 125–134.

Hoyle, M.D. (1977) Gracilaria dotyi sp. nov. (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales): a new intertidal species from Oahu, Hawaiian Islands. Pacific Science 31: 85–89.

Hughey, J.R., Silva, P.C. & Hommersand, M.H. (2001) Solving taxonomic and nomenclatural problems in Pacific Gigartinaceae (Rhodophyta) using DNA from type material. Journal of Phycology 37: 1091–1109.

Hughey, J.R. & Gabrielson, P.W. (2012) Comment on “Acquiring DNA sequence data from dried archival red algae (Florideophyceae) for the purpose of applying available names to contemporary genetic species: a critical assessment. Botany 90: 1191–1194.

Kato, A., Baba, M. & Suda, S. (2011) Revision of the Mastophoroideae (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) and polyphyly in nongeniculate species widely distributed on Pacific coral reefs. Journal of Phycology 47: 662–672.

Kato, A., Baba, M. & Suda, S. (2013) Taxonomic circumscription of heterogeneous species Neogoniolithon brassica-florida (Corallinales, Rhodophyta) in Japan. Phycological Research 61: 15–26.

Keats, D.W. & Chamberlain, Y.M. (1994) Two melobesioid coralline algae (Rhodophyta, Corallinales): Mesophyllum erubescens (Foslie) Lemoine and Mesophyllum funafutiense (Foslie) Verheij from Sodwana Bay, South Africa. South African Journal of Botany 60: 175–190.

Leão, Z.M.A.N., Kikuchi, R.K.P. & Testa, V. (2003) Corals and coral reefs of Brazil. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp. 9–52.

Lemoine, Me.P. (1928) Un nouveau genre de Mélobésiées: Mesophyllum. Bulletin Societé Botanique de France 75: 251–254.

Moura, C.W.N., Kraus, J.E. & Cordeiro-Marinho, M. (1997) Metodologia para obtenção de cortes histológicos com historresina e coloração com azul de toluidina para algas coralináceas (Rhodophyta, Corallinales). Hoehnea 24: 17–27.

Nunes, J.M.C., Guimarães, S.M.P.B., Donangelo, A., Farias, J. & Horta, P.A. (2008) Aspectos taxonômicos de três espécies de coralináceas não geniculadas do litoral do estado da Bahia, Brasil. Rodriguésia 59: 75–86.

Oliveira, E.C. (1969) Algas marinhas do sul do estado do Espírito Santo (Brasil) I-Ceramiales. Boletim de Botânica da Universidade de São Paulo 26: 1–277.

Oliveira, E.C. (1974) An annotated list of the Brazilian seaweeds in Dickie’s herbarium. Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 69: 229–238.

Oliveira, E.C. (1977) Algas marinhas bentônicas do Brasil. Tese de Livre-Docência. Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, 406 pp.

Pascelli, C., Riul, P., Riosmena-Rodriguez, R., Scherner, F., Nunes, M., Hall-Spencer, J.M., Oliveria, E.C. & Horta, P.A. (2013) Seasonal and depth-driven changes in rhodolith bed structure and associated macroalgae off Arvoredo island (southeastern Brazil) Aquatic Botany 11: 62–65. http://dx

Peña, V., Adey, W.H., Riosmena-Rodriguez, R., Jung, M.Y., Afonso-Carrillo, J., Choi, H.G. & Bárbara, I. (2011) Mesophyllum sphaericum sp. nov. (Corallinales, Rhodophyta): a new maërl-forming species from the Northeast Atlantic. Journal of Phycology 47: 911–927.

Penrose, D. (1992) Neogoniolithon fosliei (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta), the type species of Neogoniolithon, in southern Australia. Phycologia 31: 338–350.

Presting, G.G. (2006) Identification of conserved regions in the plastid genome – implications for DNA barcoding and biological function. Canadian Journal of Botany 84: 1434–1443.

Printz, H. (1929). M. Foslie — Contributions to a monograph of the Lithothamnia. Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs Skrifter Museet, Trondheim, 60 pp.

Riul, P., Targino, C.H., Farias, J.N., Visscher, P.T. & Horta, P.A. (2008) Decrease in Lithothamnion sp. (Rhodophyta) primary production due to the deposition of a thin sediment layer. Journal of Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 88: 17–19.

Ronquist, F., Teslenko, M., van der Mark, P., Ayres, D.L., Darling, A., Höhna, S., Larget, B., Liu, L., Suchard,M.A. & Huelsenbeck, J.P. (2012) MrBayes 3.2: efficient Bayesian phylogenetic inference and model choice across a large model space. Systematic Biology 61: 539–542.

Saunders, G.W. & McDevit, D.C. (2012) Acquiring DNA sequence data from dried archival red algae (Florideophyceae) for the purpose of applying available names to contemporary genetic species: a critical assessment. Botany 90: 191–203.

Scherner, F., Riul, P., Bastos, E., Bouzon, Z.L., Pagliosa, P.R., Blankensteyn, A., Oliveira, E.C. & Horta, P.A. (2010) Herbivory in a Rhodolith Bed: a Structuring Factor? Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences 5: 358–366.

Suringar, W.F.R. (1868) Algarum japonicarum musei botanici L.B. Index praecursorius. Annales Musei Botanici Lugduno–Batavi 3: 256–259.

Tamura, K., Peterson, D., Peterson, N., Stecher, G., Nei, M. & Kumar, S. (2011) MEGA5: Molecular evolutionary analysis using Maximum Likelihood, Evolutionary Distance, and Maximum Parsimony Methods. Molecular Biology and Evolution 28: 2731–2739.


Taylor, W.R. (1960) Marine algae of the eastern tropical and subtropical coasts of the Americas. University of Michigan Press, Michigan, 870 pp.

Townsend, R.A. (1979) Synarthrophyton, a new genus of Corallinaceae (Cryptonemiales, Rhodophyta) from the southern hemisphere. Journal of Phycology 15: 251–259.

Turra, A., Cróquer, A., Carranza, A., Mansilla, A., Areces, A.J., Werlinger, C., Martínez-Bayón, C., Nassar, C.A.G., Plastino, E., Schwindt, E., Scarabino, F., Chow, F., Figueroa, F.L., Berchez, F., Hall-Spencer, J.M., Soto, L.A., Buckeridge, M.S., Copertino, M.S., de Széchy, M.T.M., Guilhardi-Lopes, M.P., Horta, P., Coutinho, R., Fraschetti, S. & de Andrade Nery Leão, Z.M. (2013) Global environmental changes: setting priorities for Latin American coastal habitats. Global Change Biology 19: 1965–1969.

Thompson, J.D., Higgins, D.G. & Gibson, T.J. (1994) CLUSTAL W: improving the sensivity of progressive multiple sequence alignment through sequence weighting, positions-specific gap penalties and weight matrix choice. Nucleic Acids Research 22: 4673–4680.

Wilks, K.M. & Woelkerling, W.J. (1994) An account of southern Australian species of Phymatolithon (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta) with comments on Leptophytum. Australian Systematic Botany 7: 183–223.

Wilson, S., Blabe, C., Berges, J.A. & Maggs, C.A. (2004) Environmental tolerances of free-living coralline algae (maërl): implications for European marine conservation. Biological Conservation 120: 279–289.

Woelkerling, W.J. (1988) The Coralline red algae: An analysis of the genera and subfamilies of nongeniculate Corallinaceae. British Museum (Natural History) and Oxford University Press, London & Oxford, 280 pp.

Woelkerling, W.J. (1993) Type collections of Corallinales (Rhodophyta) in the Foslie Herbarium (TRH). Gunneria 67: 1–289.

Woelkerling, W.J. & Harvey, A. (1992) Mesophyllum incisum (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta) in Southern Australia: Implications for generic and specific delimitation in the melobesioideae. British Phycological Journal 27: 381–399

Woelkerling, W.J. & Harvey, A. (1993) An account of Southern Australia species of Mesophyllum (Corallinaceae, Rhodophyta). Australian Systematic Botany 6: 571–637.

Wynne, M.J. (2011) A Checklist of benthic marine algae of the tropical and subtropical western Atlantic: third revision. Nova Hedwigia Beiheft 140: 1–166.

Yoon, H.S., Hackett, J.D. & Bhattacharya, D. (2002) A single origin of the peridinin and fucoxanthin containing plastids in dinoflagellates through tertiary endosymbiosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99: 11724–11729.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 1179-3155 (print); ISSN 1179-3163 (online)

Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand