Netted wing weed (Dictyopteris polypodioides)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Up to 30 cm in length, Dictyopteris membranacea superficially resembles the Fucus species but is much more delicate. The frond is thinner (up to 15 cm wide), membranous and dotted with numerous clusters of tiny hairs. It is yellowish in colour when juvenile, growing darker brown with age. Newly collected specimens have an unpleasant odour.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

A southern species present in large amounts only in the extreme south-west of Britain with a few records from west Scotland.

Global distribution

Present from the Netherlands to the Mediterranean and Western South Africa, in parts of the Caribbean, and Vietnam.


Dictyopteris membranacea is essentially a sublittoral species although it is sometimes found on the lower shore.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Prominent midrib.
  • Frond flattened and branching dichotomously.
  • Holdfast disc-like and fibrous.
  • Tips of branches rounded and slightly split or notched.

Additional information

Can be distinguished from Dictyota dichotoma by its larger size and the presence of a midrib.

Listed by

- none -


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  4. Hardy, F.G. & Guiry, M.D., 2003. A check-list and atlas of the seaweeds of Britain and Ireland. London: British Phycological Society

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  7. Hiscock, S., 1979. A field key to the British brown seaweeds (Phaeophyta). Field Studies, 5, 1- 44.

  8. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  9. Norton, T.A. (ed.), 1985. Provisional Atlas of the Marine Algae of Britain and Ireland. Huntingdon: Biological Records Centre, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology.


  1. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset Accessed via on 2018-10-01

  2. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2017. Isle of Man wildlife records from 01/01/2000 to 13/02/2017. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  3. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  4. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  5. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-06-16


This review can be cited as:

Skewes, M. 2007. Dictyopteris polypodioides Netted wing weed. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 16-06-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 03/07/2007