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Seaweeds > Division Chlorophyta > Family Caulerpaceae > genus Caulerpa
Round sea grapes
Caulerpa lentillifera*
Family Caulerpaceae
updated Jan 13

Where seen? This pretty seaweed is made up of tiny balls. It grows on rocks and coral rubble in small clumps. In Singapore, it does not form extensive blooms.

Features: The seaweed resembles bunches of little grapes. Each 'grape' is tiny (0.1-0.2cm) spherical, translucent. The 'grapes' are usually tightly packed on a vertical 'stem', the whole often forming a sausage-like shape (2-10cm long). This species is distinguished by the distinct constriction where the 'grape' attaches to the stalk. The 'stems' emerge from a long horizontal 'root' that creeps over the surface. Colours range from bright green to bluish and olive green.

Sometimes confused with Oval sea grapes (Caulerpa racemosa). Caulerpa microphysa can look very similar but lack the distinct constriction where the 'grape' attached to the stalk. Here's more on how to tell apart the sea grapes seaweeds.

Human uses: Round sea grapes are a popular edible species in some places. In the Philippines, the seaweed is eaten fresh as a salad, or salted so it can be eaten later. Small quantities are also exported to Japan. It is also eaten in Malaysia and Indonesia. This seaweed is commercially farmed in Cebu, Philippines. Cuttings are planted by hand in muddy mangrove ponds and harvested about two months later. The seaweed is also fed to livestock and fish. The seaweed is high in minerals and is said to taste refreshing. It is also reported to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and to be used to treat high blood pressure and rheumatism. However, some Caulerpa species produce toxins to protect themselves from browsing fish. This also makes them toxic to humans.

Terumbu Semakau, May 10

Tightly packed 'grapes' form a sausage-like shape.

Beting Bemban Besar, Apr 10
Constriction where the 'grape' attached to the stalk.

Labrador, May 09

Pulau Semakau, May 08

*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.

Round sea grapes on Singapore shores

Photos of Round sea grapes for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

South Cyrene, Oct 10

Terumbu Selegie, Jun 11

Pulau Senang, Aug 10

Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10

Pulau Salu, Jun 10

Pulau Salu, Aug 10

Links References
  • Lee Ai Chin, Iris U. Baula, Lilibeth N. Miranda and Sin Tsai Min ; editors: Sin Tsai Min and Wang Luan Keng, A photographic guide to the marine algae of Singapore, 2015. Tropical Marine Science Institute, 201 pp.
  • 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].
  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
  • Chou, L. M., 1998. A Guide to the Coral Reef Life of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 128 pages.
  • Huisman, John M. 2000. Marine Plants of Australia University of Western Australia Press. 300pp.
  • Calumpong, H. P. & Menez, E. G., 1997.Field Guide to the Common Mangroves, Seagrasses and Algae of the Philippines. Bookmark, Inc., the Philippines. 197 pp.
  • 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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