Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Acanthophora spicifera



Acanthophora spicifera


  • Last modified
  • 06 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Acanthophora spicifera
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Rhodophyta
  •       Class: Rhodophyceae
  •         Order: Ceramiales
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • In Hawaii, A. spicifera has displaced native species, including common algae such as Laurencia spp. and Hypnea cervicornis (

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Acanthophora spicifera (M. Vahl) Børgesen 1910

Other Scientific Names

  • Acanthophora antillarum Montagne ex Kützing 1865
  • Acanthophora intermedia Crouan & Crouan 1878
  • Acanthophora orientalis J. Agardh 1863
  • Acanthophora orientalis var. wightii (J. Agardh) Sonder 1879
  • Acanthophora spicifera forma orientalis (J. Agardh) Weber-van Bosse 1923
  • Acanthophora spicifera forma wightii (J. Agardh) Weber-van Bosse 1923
  • Acanthophora spicifera var. orientalis (J. Agardh) Zaneveld 1956
  • Acanthophora thierryi J. V. Lamouroux 1813
  • Acanthophora thierryi forma gracilis P. L. Crouan & H. M. Crouan 1878
  • Acanthophora wightii J. Agardh 1863
  • Chondria acanthophora C. Agardh 1822
  • Fucus acanthophorus J. V. Lamouroux 1805
  • Fucus spiciferus M. Vahl 1802

Local Common Names

  • Malaysia/Peninsular Malaysia: bulong tombong bideng
  • Philippines: culot
  • Vanuatu: limus

Summary of Invasiveness

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In Hawaii, A. spicifera has displaced native species, including common algae such as Laurencia spp. and Hypnea cervicornis (Russell, 1992; Smith et al., 2002). However, it is not reported to form large, monospecific nuisance blooms.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Rhodophyta
  •             Class: Rhodophyceae
  •                 Order: Ceramiales
  •                     Family: Rhodomelaceae
  •                         Genus: Acanthophora
  •                             Species: Acanthophora spicifera

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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The genus Acanthophora was erected by J. V. Lamouroux in 1813 for Fucus acanthophorus, a species he had described in 1805. F. acanthophorus is a later name for Fucus spicifera Vahl (1802) and the combination Acanthophora spicifera was established by Børgesen in 1910.

The genus Acanthophora was reviewed and revised by de Jong et al. (1999), who include a complete synonymy for A. spicifera.


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Plants to 25 cm, colour variable, light-pink, pale to dark-brown, green or yellow. Branches smooth, cylindrical, 0.6–3.0 mm diameter, sparingly to repeatedly irregularly radially branched, generally sparse below and more abundant above, heavily corticated; lateral determinate branchlets bearing spur-like spines to 0.5 mm long; apices of plants pointed, bearing dichotomous hair-like trichoblasts that can envelop mature apices. Holdfast is an irregularly lobed, disc-like, thickened crust from which several erect axes arise. Axes with cells of the central filament surrounded by five distinct pericentral cells and small, rounded cortical cells gradually diminishing in size toward the periphery, the central axial cells usually evident; in older axes, central axial filaments surrounded by small-celled adventitious filaments. Sporophytes and gametophytes isomorphic. Tetrasporangia in linear rows in short, determinate, spinose swollen branchlets, tetrahedrally divided, 40-50 µm diameter, 60-80 µm long. Gametophytes dioecious, spermatangial heads plate-like, on single-celled stalks near branch apices, often with sterile hairs present at base of stalk; cystocarps on adaxial sides of spines, urn-shaped, 0.5-1.0 mm diameter, solitary.

For further descriptions see Bøergesen (1910), Abbott (1999), de Jong et al. (1999), Huisman (2000), Littler and Littler (2000; 2003) and Perrone et al. (2006).


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Type locality: St. Croix, Virgin Islands.

This species is widely distributed throughout the tropics into warm temperate seas, in the central eastern and western Atlantic, around the Indian Ocean, and in the central western Pacific.

Prior to its introduction to Hawaii, A. spicifera was not known from the eastern central Pacific, nor in the central Pacific Basin east of Micronesia.

The genus Acanthophora is predominantly a tropical genus, but the distribution of some species does extend into warm temperate regions. Acanthophora muscoides and A. spicifera have wide distributions, but the other species are more limited: Acanthophora aokii in the Pacific; Acanthophora dendroides in the Indian Ocean; Acanthophora ramulosa in the East-Atlantic; Acanthophora nayadiformis in the Mediterranean and Red Seas; and Acanthophora pacifica in the central and western Pacific (Kraft, 1979; de Jong et al., 1999). Apart from the occurrence of A. pacifica and A. spicifera in Hawaii, the genus is absent from the central and eastern Pacific.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Sea Areas

Atlantic, Eastern CentralPresentNativeGuiry and Guiry, 2008
Indian Ocean, EasternPresentNativeGuiry and Guiry, 2008
Indian Ocean, WesternPresentNativeGuiry and Guiry, 2008
Pacific, Eastern CentralLocalisedIntroduced1950 Invasive Doty, 1961
Pacific, NorthwestPresentNativeGuiry and Guiry, 2008
Pacific, Western CentralPresentNativeGuiry and Guiry, 2008


BahrainPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
BangladeshPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
ChinaPresentNativeTseng, 1984
IndiaPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996; Sahoo et al., 2001
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
IndonesiaPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996; Jong et al., 1999
-SulawesiPresentNativeVerheij and Prud'homme, 1993
IranPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996; Sohrabipour and Rabii, 1999
JapanPresentNativeYoshida et al., 1990
-KyushuPresentAlcantara and Noro, 2005
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoPresentNativeO'Doherty and Sherwood, 2007
KuwaitPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
MalaysiaPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentNativeTaylor, 1977
-SabahPresentNativeTaylor, 1977
MaldivesPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
MyanmarPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
OmanPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
PakistanPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
PhilippinesPresentNativeSilva et al., 1987; Jong et al., 1999; Kraft et al., 1999; Perrone et al., 2006
SingaporePresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
Sri LankaPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996; Perrone et al., 2006
TaiwanPresentNativeLewis and Norris, 1987; Huang, 2000
VietnamPresentNativePham-Hoàng, 1969; Abbott et al., 2002; Tsutsui et al., 2005
YemenPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996


AldabraPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
AngolaPresentNativePrice et al., 1986; John et al., 2004
CameroonPresentNativeLawson and John, 1987; John et al., 2003; John et al., 2004
Equatorial GuineaPresentNativePrice et al., 1986
EritreaPresentNativeJong et al., 1999
GabonPresentNativeLawson and John, 1987; John et al., 2003; John et al., 2004
Guinea-BissauPresentNativeWelten et al., 2002; John et al., 2003
KenyaPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
MadagascarPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996; Jong et al., 1999
MauritaniaPresentNativeJohn et al., 2004
MauritiusPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
MozambiquePresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
RéunionPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
Sao Tome and PrincipePresentNativeLawson and John, 1987; John et al., 2003; John et al., 2004
SenegalPresentNativePrice et al., 1986; John et al., 2004
SeychellesPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996; Jong et al., 1999
Sierra LeonePresentNativeLawson and John, 1987; John et al., 2003; John et al., 2004
South AfricaPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996
TanzaniaPresentNativeSilva et al., 1996; Oliveira et al., 2005
-ZanzibarPresentNativeGuiry and Guiry, 2008

North America

BermudaPresentNativeTaylor, 1960; Schneider and Searles, 1991
MexicoPresentNativeTaylor, 1960Eastern coast
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-FloridaPresentNativeTaylor, 1960; Schneider and Searles, 1991; Littler and Littler, 2000; Littler et al., 2008
-HawaiiWidespreadIntroduced Invasive Doty, 1961; Abbott, 1999; Smith et al., 2002; Perrone et al., 2006; O'Doherty and Sherwood, 2007O'ahu, Moloka'l, Maui, Hawai'i

Central America and Caribbean

BahamasPresentNativeTaylor, 1960; Littler and Littler, 2000
BarbadosPresentNativeTaylor, 1960; Taylor, 1969
BelizePresentNativeLittler and Littler, 1997
Cayman IslandsPresentNativePerrone et al., 2006
Costa RicaPresentNativeTaylor, 1960
CubaPresentNativeTaylor, 1960; Jong et al., 1999; Cabrera et al., 2004; Suárez, 2005
GuadeloupePresentNativePerrone et al., 2006
GuatemalaPresentNativeTaylor, 1960
HondurasPresentNativeBoyer et al., 2004
JamaicaPresentNativeTaylor, 1960
Netherlands AntillesPresentNativeTaylor, 1960
PanamaPresentNativeTaylor, 1960
Puerto RicoPresentNativeTaylor, 1960; Jong et al., 1999
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNativeTaylor, 1960; Richardson, 1975; Duncan and Lee, 2006
United States Virgin IslandsPresentNativeTaylor, 1960; Perrone et al., 2006

South America

BrazilPresentNativeTaylor, 1930; Joly, 1957; Taylor, 1960; Joly, 1965; Lourenço et al., 2005
-Rio de JaneiroPresentNativePerrone et al., 2006
ColombiaPresentNativeTaylor, 1960
VenezuelaPresentNativeTaylor, 1960; Ganesan, 1990


AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresentNativeWomersley, 1958; Jong et al., 1999; Phillips et al., 1999
-New South WalesPresentNativeMillar and Kraft, 1993; Huisman, 2000
-QueenslandPresentNativeLewis, 1984; Cribb, 1996; Phillips, 1997; Phillips, 2002
-Western AustraliaPresentNativeHuisman, 2000; Huisman and Borowitzka, 2003Houtman Abrolhos Islands
FijiPresentNativeN'Yeurt et al., 1996; South and Skelton, 2003
French PolynesiaPresentNativePayri et al., 2000
GuamPresentNativeDoty, 1961
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentNativeDoty, 1961; Lobban and Tsuda, 2003
New CaledoniaPresentNativeJong et al., 1999
PalauPresentNativeDoty, 1961
Papua New GuineaPresentNativeDoty, 1961
SamoaPresentNativeSkelton and South, 1999; Skelton and South, 2002
Solomon IslandsPresentNativeWomersley and Bailey, 1970; Jong et al., 1999; Littler and Littler, 2003
TongaPresentNativeDoty, 1961
Wallis and Futuna IslandsPresentNativeN'Yeurt and Payri, 2004

History of Introduction and Spread

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Doty (1961) first reported the Hawaiian presence of this species and suggested that it probably arrived shortly after 1950. Considering that A. spicifera is a conspicuous alga, and the number of algologists who had collected algae in the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1950, Doty considered it unlikely that it would have been overlooked. Doty also observed that older Polynesians in Hawaii had no name for Acanthophora and, when Abbott and Williamson (1974) interviewed Hawaiians familiar with seaweeds, they found several who confirmed that they had never seen this species before World War II, giving credence to the speculation that A. spicifera is an accidental introduction to Hawaiian waters.

The most likely vector was considered to be the fouled bottom of a ship arriving from the west, and possibly a barge arriving in Pearl Harbour from Guam or the Philippines. The sequence of discovery on the Hawaiian Islands was: Pearl Harbour (autumn 1952, fragments); Waikiki (April 1953); Ke’ehi Lagoon, Hau’ula (May 1953); Kaua’I (1954); Lana’I (1960); all islands (1961).

A. spicifera is the most common non-indigenous algal species in Hawaii (Smith et al., 2002). The species was found on every island surveyed by Smith et al. (2002) and its distribution was fairly uniform around all coastlines except for the island of Hawaii. It was most common in intertidal regions and in semi-protected tide-pools. Abundance has increased from 2003 to 2006, with blooms coinciding with late summer/early autumn (Dailer et al., 2006). Mature tetrasporophytes and female gametophytes were found on all islands and the species appears to release spores throughout the year, as well as having potential for dispersal by fragmentation. The broad distribution of the species through the islands is also likely to have been facilitated by hull fouling on small boats and other vessels.


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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Hawaii Pacific, Western Central 1950 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes Doty (1961)

Risk of Introduction

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Areas at risk of invasion are those islands and coastlines in the central and eastern tropical Pacific that do not fall within the natural distribution of the species. Boat and vessel traffic is the most likely means for dispersal to new regions.


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This species is saxicolous, epiphytic, or epizoic; intertidal and subtidal, or free-floating. Often a dominant intertidal species on calm shallow reef flats, in tidepools and rocky benches swept by small waves (Hawaii Biological Survey, 2008).

Throughout Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, it is found extensively on shallow reef flats, typically from 1-8 m deep, but down to 22 m (Kilar and McLachlan, 1986Scullion et al., 1989).

Habitat List

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Intertidal zone Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Intertidal zone Present, no further details Natural
Inshore marine Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Inshore marine Present, no further details Natural
Coral reefs Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coral reefs Present, no further details Natural

Biology and Ecology

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DNA sequencing (based on a variable region of the nuclear large subunit ribosomal RNA gene, and the mitochondrial cox 2-3 spacer region) revealed no variation in plants from Hawaii, or from other areas of the Pacific and Australia (O’Doherty and Sherwood, 2007). In contrast, these authors found fragment techniques (Inter-Simple Sequence Repeats [ISSRs]) to reveal highly structured Hawaiian populations with a substantial range of both within- and among-population variation, with individual plants forming discrete clusters corresponding to geographic locality.

GenBank: DQ500955, DQ500856 (O'Doherty and Sherwood, 2007); EF426609 (Sherwood and Presting, 2007).

Reproductive Biology

The sexual life history of A. spicifera has a triphasic alternation of generations, with isomorphic tetrasporophytes and dioecious gametophytes. The thalli are also easily fragmented by wave action, and fragments have the potential to re-attach after 2 days (Kilar and McLachlan, 1986).

Skelton and South (2002) quote an autecological study of A. spicifera carried out in the Fiji Islands, which demonstrated that sexual phases were absent and that fragmentation was the main mode of propagation (Skelton, 1998). This was considered to confirm earlier reports (Mshigeni, 1978; Kilar and McLachlan, 1986) that reproduction in this species is often predominantly asexual.

Across the Hawaiian Islands in a 2000 survey, tetrasporophytes and female gametophytes containing mature carpospores were found on all islands except Hawaii (Smith et al., 2002). However, in 2005, O’Doherty and Sherwood (2007) found no spermatangial or carpogonial plants in their collections at nine locations. In regular collections between February and late October 2005, no reproduction was visible until the final week of May, after which tetrasporangial plants were present through the remainder of the study.

Physiology and Phenology

A. spicifera stores both nitrogen and phosphorus in response to enhanced nutrient supply (Fong et al., 2001; 2003). In a study in Honduras, artificially elevating nitrogen and phosphorus levels increased grazing by herbivores across habitats when compared to controls (Boyer et al., 2004).


Survival of A. spicifera can be enhanced on reefs by association with dense aggregates of other algal species that are more tolerant of wave action and are able to retain water when exposed to air (Smithsonian Marine Station, 2008). A. spicifera benefits by being shielded from direct sunlight and insulation from dessication. In the Caribbean, Laurencia papillosa is one associated species. In some habitats, A. spicifera is able to outcompete, but not exclude, L. papillosa. The relative success of both species is considered to be heavily dependent on the duration and types of habitat disturbance and the ability of each species to maintain space during competition, reproduction, and vegetative growth (Smithsonian Marine Station, 2008).

An association refuge is also reported to sometimes occur when A. spicifera grows in association with the soft coral Sinularia sp. with fish predation on A. spicifera decreasing with its proximity to Sinularia (Kerr and Paul, 1995; Smithsonian Marine Station, 2008). Littler et al. (1986) similarly reported that A. spicifera suffers much less grazing damage when it grows near the toxic brown algae Stypopodium zonale.

Environmental Requirements

The maximum primary production for A. spicifera has been reported to occur at a water temperature of 25°C (Kilar and Norris, 1988). In the Caribbean, the species has been observed to disappear during mid-winter and this has been used to speculate that it may have a lower temperature limit of 23.5°C (Taylor and Bernatowicz, 1969). However, the wide distribution of the species through the tropics and subtropics suggests a broader temperature tolerance (Smithsonian Marine Station, 2008). In Hawaii, abundance is reported to peak in late summer/early autumn (Dailer et al., 2006).

Typical salinities on reefs in the Caribbean where A. spicifera occurs are 32–35 ppt (Smithsonian Marine Station, 2008). The salinity tolerance ranges from 15 to 55 ppt, and the species could be acclimatized from 55 to 15 ppt (Kaliaperumal et al., 2001).

The species does not survive prolonged exposure to air (Russell, 1992). 


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A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Tolerated Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
34 30

Water Tolerances

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ParameterMinimum ValueMaximum ValueTypical ValueStatusLife StageNotes
Depth (m b.s.l.) 1 8 Optimum 1-22 tolerated (Kilar and McLachlan, 1986; Scullion et al., 1989)
Salinity (part per thousand) 15 Optimum 55 tolerated (Kaliaperumal et al., 2001)
Water temperature (ºC temperature) 25 Optimum Maximim primary productivity (Kilar and Norris, 1988)

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Reef fishes and green turtles (Chelonia mydas) are known to consume A. spicifera (Smithsonian Marine Station, 2008). In Hawaii, it is now a common component in the diets of immature green turtles and is the dominant food source in some regions (Russell and Balazs, 1994; Arthur and Balazs, 2008).

Feeding preference experiments undertaken in Guam found that the crab Menaethius monoceros preferred A. spicifera to the green alga Bryopsis pennata, the brown algae Padina tenuis and Sargassum cristaefolium and two cyanobacteria (Cruz-Rivera and Paul, 2006). Amphipods in the trial were not selective, saccoglossans preferred Bryopsis and gastropods preferred the cyanobacteria. In Australia, both wild and captive-bred rabbitfish (Siganus fuscescens) preferred to consume A. spicifera over seagrasses, brown and green algae, and cyanobacteria (Capper et al., 2006).

In contrast, in feeding preference experiments undertaken in south-east India, A. spicifera was not one of the five species of twenty offered that were grazed by herbivorous fishes (Ganesan et al., 2006). Similarly, A. spicifera was not a preferred alga consumed by the sea urchin Tripneustes gratilla in Hawaii (Stimson et al., 2007). This was considered possibly due to the long thin branches of A. spicifera, which may be more difficult for the urchin to handle and ingest than algae with rigid morphologies.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Accidental Introduction

The initial introduction to the Hawaiian Islands was attributed to hull fouling, most likely on a barge arriving in Pearl Harbour from Guam or the Philippines (Doty, 1961). The species then appears to have radiated in all directions from the initial site of reproduction; locally by the release of spores and fragmentation, and more broadly by hull fouling on small boats and other vessels (Smith et al., 2002).

Impact Summary

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Environment (generally) Negative

Environmental Impact

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A. spicifera has become a significant component in the diets of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Hawaii, and appears to provide an important source of energy (Arthur and Balazs, 2008). Although many algal species were identifiable in faecal pellets, no A. spicifera was observed, indicating that the species was completely ingested and assimilated.

Impact on Biodiversity  

In Hawaii, A. spicifera is now often a dominant intertidal species and can outcompete native algae, including the native Laurencia nidifica (Russell, 1992; Schaffelke and Hewitt, 2007). The abundance at some sites has increased total algal biomass and productivity. The competitive balance between Laurencia papillosa and A. spicifera varies with wave exposure (Kilar and McLachlan, 1989). Throughout most of the fore-reef zone, L. papillosa is the competitive dominant, as defined by its ability to occupy and dominate space, but as wave exposure subsides, A. spicifera can dominate.

Stimson et al. (2001) have hypothesized that the introduction of A. spicifera has led to a steady gain in the abundance of the less palatable green alga Dictyosphaeria cavernosa on coral reefs.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of natural benthic communities
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition
  • Fouling
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult/costly to control


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Economic Value

A. spicifera is eaten as a vegetable in parts of the Pacific including Fiji (South, 1993) and Vanuatu (Dixon and Kraft, 2007). In India, culture and utilization of A. spicifera has been explored (Ninwe, 1997), including culture as a source of additional income for local fishermen during the monsoon (Mohammed, 2000).

A. spicifera is one of a number of marine macroalgae studied to show that they could be utilized as a source of natural antioxidant compounds on the basis of crude extracts and fractions exhibiting antioxidant activity (Ganesan et al., 2008). This species has also been used in anti-cancer research/drug development (Sithranga Boopathy and Kathiresan, 2010).

Environmental Services

A. spicifera has been shown to be useful as a bio-indicator of nutrient enrichment near coastal shrimp farms (Lin and Fong, 2008). Isotope ratios were the most sensitive indicators.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Seven species of Acanthophora are recognized: Acanthophora aokii, Acanthophora dendrooides, Acanthophora muscoides, Acanthophora nayadiformis, Acanthophora pacifica, Acanthophora ramulosa and A. spicifera.A. spicifera differs from other terete species in being sparingly branched and, apart form the occasional solitary spine, generally lacking spines on the main axes (de Jong et al., 1999). In A. spicifera, spines are also mostly at the apices of branchlets and smaller in size toward the apices of indeterminate axes.

The genus Acanthophora is most similar to the genus Chondria, but differs in the form of the branchlets. In Chondria, the branchlets are club- or spindle-shaped, and are constricted or tapered at their bases, whereas in Acanthophora, the branchlets are spine-like (de Jong et al., 1999).

Keys to the species of Acanthophora are provided in de Jong et al. (1999) and Perrone et al. (2006).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.


Physical/mechanical control

Site-specific control methods are proposed as a means to manage the spread and expansion of invasive populations (O’Doherty and Sherwood, 2007). Populations that are not fully established are considered to have less genetic variation and therefore be less likely to resist control measures such as large-scale removal or introduced herbivores. It is therefore recommended that control measures target locations that have strong potential to recruit new populations through the frequent production and dispersal of propagules. Exposed reefs, rather than bays, lagoons and tide pools, would be expected to produce and disperse more propagules because of higher wave action, so it is suggested that removal efforts target these sites. Removal efforts should also be timed to precede spore production, possibly in late spring in Hawaii (O’Doherty and Sherwood, 2007).

Movement control

Fouling on vessels is considered to be the vector for both the initial introduction of A. spicifera to Hawaii and its spread between islands. Public awareness and more stringent regulations of vessel fouling and ballast water are therefore proposed to be necessary to prevent or slow the recruitment of new populations (O’Doherty and Sherwood, 2007).


Of the invasive macroalgal species introduced to Hawaii, A. spicifera is the most widespread and successful (Smith et al., 2002). Eradication is not considered possible (O’Doherty and Sherwood, 2007).


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Fong P; Kamer K; Boyer KE; Boyle KA, 2001. Nutrient content of macroalgae with differing morphologies may indicate sources of nutrients to tropical marine systems. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 220:137-152.

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Ganesan M; Thiruppathi S; Nivedita Sahu; Rengarajan N; Veeragurunathan V; Bhavanath Jha, 2006. In situ observations on preferential grazing of seaweeds by some herbivores. Current Science, 91(9):1256-1260.

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20/06/08 Original text by:

John Lewis, ES Link Services Pty Ltd, 1 Queensberry Place, North Melbourne, Vic. 3051, Australia

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