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Seaweeds > Division Chlorophyta > Family Caulerpaceae > genus Caulerpa
Zipper green seaweed
Caulerpa cupressoides*
Family Caulerpaceae

updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This toothy green seaweed is commonly seen on some of our shores, usually in a small clump on coral rubble.

Features: Zipper-like structure 4-6cm long. The mid-rib or central 'stem' may be cylindrical or flat, narrow or relatively broad. The side 'branches' usually very short, flat and have pointed tips. Thus it looks somewhat like a zipper! May be long and slender, or short and very broad. The central stem may branch at the tips to form Y-shapes.

These structures emerge along the length of a 'stem' that creeps over hard surfaces or just under the sand. Dark to olive green, sometimes bluish green.

Sometimes confused with similar green seaweeds. Here's more on how to tell apart some green seaweeds.

Human uses: Zipper seaweed is reported to be edible, to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and used to treat high blood pressure. However, some Caulerpa species produce toxins to protect themselves from browsing fish. This also makes them toxic to humans.

Its scientific name 'cupressoides' means 'cypress-like' or 'resembling cypress'.

Pulau Sekudu, Jun 05

Terumbu Semakau, May 10

Chek Jawa, Aug 05

Pulau Sekudu, Sep 07

Sentosa, Jun 04

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination of internal parts.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Zipper green seaweeds on Singapore shores

Photos of Zipper green seaweeds for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Other sightings on Singapore shores

East Coast (PCN), May 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Links References
  • Pham, M. N., H. T. W. Tan, S. Mitrovic & H. H. T. Yeo, 2011. A Checklist of the Algae of Singapore, 2nd Edition. Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 99 pp. Uploaded 1 October 2011. [PDF, 1.58 MB].
  • Eric Coppejans and Tom Beeckman. 1990. Caulerpa (Chlorophyta, Caulerpales) from the Kenyan coast (pdf). Laboratorium voor Morfologie, Systematiek en Ecologie van de Planten R.U.G. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Gent, Belgium on the Phycology Research website: identification key and useful diagrams on how to tell apart similar Caulerpa species.
  • Huisman, John M. 2000. Marine Plants of Australia University of Western Australia Press. 300pp.
  • Trono, Gavino. C. Jr., 1997. Field Guide and Atlas of the Seaweed Resources of the Philippines.. Bookmark, Inc., the Philippines. 306 pp.
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