Home / Rhodophyceae / Macroreds / Membranoptera

Home button

Click on images for larger format

Name derivation:

Membranoptera : L. membranous: membrane, skin + ptera: winged

spinulosa= L. spinulose or with small spines


Membranoptera  Stackhouse  1809;  12 of 30 species descriptions are currently accepted taxonomically (Guiry and Guiry 2014).

Order Ceramiales;  Family Delesseriaceae



Algae are foliose, with linear branches, alternately pinnate to dichotomous branching, with a thin monostromatic wing bordering the midrib, and a discoid holdfast.  Tetrasporangia and spermatia occur  in marginal sori at tips of branchlets or proliferations that become corticated.  algae are perennials and particularly abundant in spring and early summer.

Similar genera:

Hommersand and Lin (2009) suggest that algae previously referred to Membranoptera alata in the Northwest Atlantic may be restricted to Europe and that American samples are most similar to M. spinulosa.


Common to rare  in the lower littoral and shallow sublittoral zones on the open coasts; also found in drift and on stipes of kelps, Ptilota, Desmarestia, and hydroids.




Guiry, M.D. and G.M. Guiry  2013.  AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org; searched on 07 May 2013.

Hommersand, M. S. and S.-M. Lin. 2009. Phylogeny and systematics of species of Phycodrys and Membranoptera (Delesseriaceae, Rhodophyta) that exhibit trans-Arctic distributions between the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans. In: Abstracts , 48th Northeast Algal Symposium, Univ. Massachusetts, Amherst, p. 23.

Stackhouse, J.  1809.  Tentamen marino-cryptogamicum, ordinem novum; in genera et species distributum, in Classe XXIVta Linnaei sistens.  Mémoires de la Société Imperiale des Naturalistes de Moscou 2: [50]-97.

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