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Description

 Calliblepharis ciliata is bright to dark red in colour. The main blade is erect and forms into a wedge shape or ovate lobe that expands into a dichotomous or irregularly divided blade up to 7 cm broad and 30 cm long and 350-650 µm thick (Dixon & Irvine, 1977). Small branches arise from the main blade. Calliblepharis ciliata can vary considerably in blade width and degree of subdivision. In southeastern England its blades are often only 10-15 µm thick. The branchlets (proliferations) that arise from the margins of the blade are either pointed or rounded. Patches of encrusting bryozoans are very common on old specimens.Calliblepharis ciliata is a gametangial plant with both male and female reproductive organs. The reproductive bodies are not confined to the marginal branchlets but are equally common on those which grow out from the surface of the frond. The male reproductive structures (spermatangia) appear in large superficial sori on young blades. The female reproductive structures (cystocarps) appear as a protruding mass 1- 2 mm in diameter that become visible in September along the margins of the branchlets. The asexual reproductive structures (tetrasporangia) appear in groups of large sori on the blade surface and margins, that grow to 65 to 75 µm x 40 to 45 µm in diameter and are recorded from October to April (Dixon & Irvine, 1977).

Calliblepharis ciliata is very similar to Palmaria palmata. However, the latter has a disc shaped holdfast. Calliblepharis jubata is also similar to Calliblepharis ciliata but has several fronds arising from a branched stem and during the summer branches appear long and tendril like. Calliblepharis jubata has a thinner frond, and is normally less than 7 cm broad with longer branchlets (3 cm long). The cystoscarps of Calliblepharis jubata become visible in April, and spermatangia from June - July and mature throughout the summer, whereas Calliblepharis ciliata mature throughout the winter (Dixon & Irvine, 1977).

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©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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