Characterization of the edible red alga Meristotheca papulosa (Solieriaceae, Gigartinales) from Japan
Faye, E.J.; Shimada, S.; Kawaguchi, S.; Masuda, M.
Phycological Research 53(3): 234-245
The vegetative and reproductive morphology of the edible red alga Meristotheca papulosa (Montagne) J. Agardh (Solieriaceae) was reexamined based on material collected from various localities in Japan. Although the habit of the blades is variable according to the length and width of the axes, the frequency of branching and the abundance of proliferations, rbcL sequence analyses indicate their conspecificity. M. papulosa displays four distinctive reproductive features (presence of an auxiliary cell complex, occurrence of cystocarps on marginal proliferations and the blade surface (although very rare) in addition to the margins of axes, frequent production of spinose outgrowths on the pericarp and tetrasporangial initials typically basally attached to their parental cells) that have not been reported for M. papulosa from other areas. Although these features might warrant recognition of the Japanese entity as a separate species, a better understanding of their possible taxonomic value requires comparisons with M. papulosa from other geographic regions, including the type locality.