BIOTIC Species Information for Fucus ceranoides
Researched byNicola White Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byDr Graham Scott
Scientific nameFucus ceranoides Common nameHorned wrack
MCS CodeZR377 Recent SynonymsNone

PhylumChromophycota Subphylum
Superclass ClassPhaeophyceae
Subclass OrderFucales
Suborder FamilyFucaceae
GenusFucus Speciesceranoides

Additional InformationNo text entered
Taxonomy References Fish & Fish, 1996, Howson & Picton, 1997,
General Biology
Growth formFoliose
Feeding methodPhotoautotroph
Mobility/MovementPermanent attachment
Environmental positionEpifloral
Typical food typesNot relevant HabitAttached
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeLarge(>50cm)
HeightUp to 60 cm Growth RateInsufficient information
Adult dispersal potentialNone DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationFucus ceranoides is physiologically adapted to brackish conditions. Suryono & Hardy (1997) found that growth rate was highest between 5 and 25 psu and growth was depressed at 0 and 35 psu. When cultured in high salinity they found that plant tissue decayed within 5 to 6 weeks. Khjafi & Norton (1979) recorded similar results but Baeck et al. (1992) found that Fucus ceranoides grew at full salinity for 11 weeks.
Biology References Suryono & Hardy, 1997, Lein, 1984, Khfaji & Norton, 1979, Fish & Fish, 1996, Baeck et al., 1992,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandAll coasts of Britain and Ireland
Global distributionSpitsbergen, Iceland, Norway, Heligoland, Netherlands, Ireland, Britain, N. France, Portugal and Azores.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth rangeNot relevant
MigratoryNon-migratory / Resident   
Distribution Additional InformationThe species is commonly found in the upper reaches of estuaries. It appears to be physiologically adapted to living in reduced salinity and exhibits its maximum growth rate at 11 psu. It is thought to be absent from fully saline sites due to an inability to compete with the faster growing fucoids, such as %Fucus vesiculosus% and a physiological intolerance of fully saline conditions. In areas of estuaries where salinity varies between 11 and 25 psu, Fucus ceranoides and %Fucus vesiculosus% can be found living together.

Substratum preferencesBedrock
Large to very large boulders
Small boulders
Gravel / shingle
Physiographic preferencesEstuary
Strait / sound
Ria / Voe
Open coast
Biological zoneUpper Eulittoral
Mid Eulittoral
Wave exposureSheltered
Very Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowStrong (3-6 kn)
Moderately Strong (1-3 kn)
Weak (<1 kn)
Very Weak (negligible)
SalinityReduced (18-30 psu)
Low (<18 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Suryono & Hardy, 1997, Lein, 1984, JNCC, 1999, Norton, 1985, Hardy & Guiry, 2003,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismInsufficient information
Reproductive SeasonInsufficient information Reproductive LocationInsufficient information
Reproductive frequencyAnnual episodic Regeneration potential No
Life span3-5 years Age at reproductive maturityInsufficient information
Generation timeInsufficient information FecundityInsufficient information
Egg/propagule sizeInsufficient information Fertilization typeInsufficient information
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potentialInsufficient information Larval settlement periodNot relevant
Duration of larval stageInsufficient information   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationThe species is usually dioecious but monoecious plants have been recorded, although it has been suggested that these are hybrids. Well developed gametangia are present on plants in southern Norway from the end of May to December. Gametes are released on daytime high tides at about full and new moon. Germlings are found from the end of May to the beginning of August. Receptacles usually drop off by October or November.
Reproduction References Lein, 1984, Brawley, 1992, Baeck et al., 1992,
About MarLIN | Contact, Enquiries & Feedback | Terms & Conditions | Funding | Glossary | Accessibility | Privacy | Sponsorship

Creative Commons License BIOTIC (Biological Traits Information Catalogue) by MarLIN (Marine Life Information Network) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available at Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own terms and conditions and they may or may not be available for reuse. Based on a work at