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Name derivation:

Ahnfeltia: named for Professor Nils Otto Ahnfelt of Lund, Sweden, a bryologist

plicata: L. plicatus:  foldled up or folded into pleats or furrows

Common name:= wire weed


Ahnfeltia  Fries  1836;  9 of 32 species descriptions are currently accepted taxonomically (Guiry and Guiry 2014).

Order Ahnfeltiales;  Family Ahnfeltiaceae



A wiry, dichotomously branched red alga producing multiple terete branches from a common base. The alga is sometimes proliferously branched, particularly after being injured. Ahnfeltia is a gametophytic generations that sometimes alternates with a tetrasporangial crustose phase that has been previously designated  asPorphyrodiscus simulans “.

Similar genera:

Similar to Polyides, except that Ahnfeltia’s is more stiff and tends to be narrower.


Grows in the low littoral and shallow sublittoral zones, often in sand abraded habitats. A psammophytic (sand tolerating) species like Polyides.



Chen 1977. The sporophyte of Ahnfeltia plicata (Huds.) Fries (Rhodophyceae, Gigartinales) in culture. Phycologia 16: 163-168

Farnham, W. F. and F. L. Fletcher. 1976.  The occurrence of a Porphyrodiscus simulans Batt. phase in the life history of Ahnfeltia plicata (Hudson) Fries. Br. Phycol. J. 11: 183-190

Guiry, M.D., and G.M. Guiry  2013.  AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway.  http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 16 January 2013.

Taylor, W. R.  1957. Marine Algae of the Northeastern Coast of North America. Revised edition. Univ. Michigan Press., Ann Arbor, ix + 509 pp.