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Seaweeds > Division Rhodophyta
Spiny red seaweed
Acanthophora sp.*
Family Rhodomelaceae
updated Jan 13

Where seen? This small spiny seaweed is commonly seen on many of our shores. Usually in small bunches attached to coral rubble or on stones in sandy areas. Often, the seaweed is overgrown with a coat of fine fluffy organisms.

Features: Bunch of 'stems' 10-15cm long with short, spiny side branches. May be black, brown, reddish brown. The bunch is usually small and the bunches scattered.

According to AlgaeBase: there are 6 current Acanthophora species.

Human uses: A. spicifera is eaten as a fresh vegetable in some parts of Vietnam and the Philippines. Burkill recorded it as being eaten in Java and the Philippines, but not in Malaya. It is also used as animal feed. It is reported to have antibacterial, antibiotic properties.

In Hawaii, it is considered an introduced and thus alien, invasive weed that affects the native marine life there.

Pulau Jong, Jul 06

Overgrown with coat of fine fluffy organisms.

Tanah Merah, Apr 05

Sentosa, Jun 05

Chek Jawa, Feb 12

Chek Jawa, Feb 12

Chek Jawa, Feb 12

*Seaweed species are difficult to positively identify without microscopic examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Spiny red seaweeds on Singapore shores

Photos of Spiny red seaweed for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Pulau Salu, Jun 10

Pulau Senang, Jun 10

Pulau Berkas, May 10

Pulau Berkas, May 10

Terumbu Semakau, May 10

Acanthophora recorded for Singapore
Pham, M. N., H. T. W. Tan, S. Mitrovic & H. H. T. Yeo, 2011. A Checklist of the Algae of Singapore.

  Acanthophora muscoides
Acanthophora spicifera

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.
  • 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.
  • Burkill, I. H., 1993. A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula. 3rd printing. Publication Unit, Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Volume 1: 1-1240; volume 2: 1241-2444.
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