This seaweed readily invades new places and is now found in Australia, both
in New South Wales and South Australia. If it arrived in New Zealand it
could cause serious problems to our marine ecosystem.
It is found at depths of 3-35 m on rock, sand or mud in sheltered or
moderately wave-exposed areas. It smothers other plant life in the area it
invades and reduces the habitat available for fish and other animals.
Mode of distribution
Caulerpa is used in the marine aquarium trade. Its most likely path of
introduction to New Zealand would be by accident (eg, from the dumping of a
hobbyist's aquarium into the sea) or possibly from the outflow of a marine
pet supplier's holding tanks.
Size: Fronds between 3-15 cm long in shallower lighter conditions and 40-60
cm in deeper water. Stolon diameter of 1.5-1.8 mm but less than 2.8 mm.
Shape: Horizontal tubular stolon with fronds protruding at right angles. The
fronds are flat.
The flattened fronds are an important feature to look for. Another important
characteristic of caulerpa is the fact that the fronds get narrower as they
near the top of the frond.
plan August 2001 (PDF 348KB).
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