New Species of Green Alga Discovered

by johnsmith

Biologists have described a new species of the unicellular green algal genus Acetabularia from a rocky intertidal habitat of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Acetabularia jalakanyakae. Image credit: Felix Bast.

Acetabularia jalakanyakae. Image credit: Felix Bast.

Acetabularia is an extant genus of single-celled green algae found in subtropical waters. It belongs to the family Polyphysaceae of the order Dasycladales.

The present diversity of Dasycladales includes 38 species belonging to 10 genera and are divided into two families Dasycladaceae and Polyphysaceae, which can be considered as ‘living fossils.’

Acetabularia alga is dioecious and has a height of 0.5 to 10 cm (0.2-3.9 inches).

It has three anatomical parts: at the bottom — a rhizoid with a set of short roots, in the middle — a long stalk, and at the top — an umbrella of branches that further fused into a cap.

It is also called ‘mermaid’s wineglass’ because of its beautiful umbrella-shaped cap.

The Acetabularia genus consists of at least currently accepted 13 species. Four species are known from India, including three from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The newly-identified species was collected from intertidal rocks at Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Named Acetabularia jalakanyakae, it is morphologically similar to Acetabularia crenulata, a green algal species from Key West, Florida.

“The main body of Acetabularia jalakanyakae is comprised into three regions: a basal part with a rhizoidal holdfast, a middle region with a long stalk, and the topmost upper part with an umbrella-shaped circular cap,” said senior author Dr. Felix Bast and his colleagues from the Central University of Punjab, the Central University of Kerala, and DAV College.

“It consists of an unbranched cylindrical stalk. Stalk length is 20-40 mm with a cap diameter of 5-13 mm. The cap is completely fused, having 40-60 cap rays.”

“The outer end of each ray forms a pointed structure. The outer ring consists of slender lobes with bifurcation. The inner ring has 40-60 lobes without bifurcations. The inner ring comprised of 6 or 7 hairs per lobe and shows protrusions inside. The developing cap shows a swollen lobe inside and early partition at inner and outer rings.”

The discovery of Acetabularia jalakanyakae is described in a paper in the Indian Journal of Geo Marine Sciences.


K.C. Saini et al. 2021. Morpho-molecular assessment of Acetabularia jalakanyakae sp. nov. (Dasycladales, Chlorophyta) – a new species from Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Indian Journal of Geo Marine Sciences 50 (9):701-708;

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