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Seaweeds > Division Chlorophyta > Family Caulerpaceae > genus Caulerpa
Taxifolia feathery green seaweed
Caulerpa taxifolia*
Family Caulerpaceae
updated Sep 2019
Where seen? This beautiful feathery green seaweed is commonly seen on many of our shores, growing on coral rubble and sometimes spreading out on sandy bottoms. Usually found in clumps, which can cover an area of about 40-50cm. But it does not blanket the shore like other seasonally abundant seaweeds.

Features: Frond feather-like 3-15cm long. The mid-rib or central 'stem' of the feathery structure is flat and usually with a width much narrower than the length of the side 'branches'. Side 'branches' are somewhat flat with a pointed tip. There is a slight constriction where the side 'branch' attaches to the mid-rib. The side 'branches' rarely overlap one another. These feathery structures emerge along the length of a horizontal 'stem' that creeps over hard surfaces or just under the sand. Colours bright to dark green.

Sometimes confused with other feathery green seaweeds or with seagrasses. Here's more on how to tell apart different feathery green seaweeds and how to tell apart feathery green seaweeds and seagrasses.

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

Status and threats: This seaweed is native to the tropical waters of the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific.

A particular strain of this seaweed developed for the aquarium trade was accidentally introduced to the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, Australia and California. This strain is resistant to cooler temperate waters and is toxic to native herbivores such as fish, sea urchins and snails. So it grows unchecked and thick carpets of the seaweed smother native plants and deprive native animals of food. Efforts to eradicate it has not succeeded and this seaweed is now considered a noxious introduced alien.

Sisters Island, Jul 04

Branch sickle-shaped, slight constriction where
it attaches to the mid-rib.

Labrador, Nov 04

Sentosa, Jul 05

Pulau Salu, Aug 10

Pulau Semakau, Aug 11

*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.

Taxifolia feathery green seaweed on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Coney Island, Feb 19
Photo shared by Richard Kuah on facebook.

Pulau Berkas, May 10

Berlayar Creek, Oct 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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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