information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

A red seaweed (Callophyllis laciniata)

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



A short soft, fleshy thallus arises and expands immediately from a small round (discoid) holdfast. The stipe is inconspicuous or absent and the crimson, brownish or purple-red fronds are much divided spreading out into wedge shaped divisions of about 1-3 cm broad. The whole blade can be up to 15 cm long and fan shaped with overlapping sections. Frond tips are rounded and end in tiny marginal leaflets giving a fringed appearance.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded throughout the British Isles, but uncommon in the south east of England between Hampshire and Suffolk, probably due to lack of suitable substrata.

Global distribution

Faeroes; Norway and Sweden to Morocco; Mediterranean.


Callophyllis laciniata can be commonly found attached to rock in the lower littoral and shallow sublittoral to at least 30 m. It is also often found attached to kelp stipes and holdfasts on both sheltered and exposed shores.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Soft fleshy red thallus.
  • Thallus arising immediately from holdfast.
  • No conspicuous stipe.
  • Repeatedly branched wedge shaped fronds displaying a fan shaped blade.

    Additional information

    Often confused with Cryptopleura ramosa with which it often grows and can be distinguished if Cryptopleura ramosa shows iridescence as Callophyllis lacinata does not.

    Listed by

    - none -

    Further information sources

    Search on:


    1. Dickinson, C.I., 1963. British seaweeds. London & Frome: Butler & Tanner Ltd.

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

    3. Hiscock, S., 1986b. A field key to the British Red Seaweeds. Taunton: Field Studies Council. [Occasional Publication No.13]

    4. 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.]

    5. Irvine, L.M., 1983. Seaweeds of the British Isles vol. 1. Rhodophyta Part 2A. Cryptonemiales (sensu stricto), Palmariales, Rhodymeniales. London: British Museum (Natural History).

    6. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017

    7. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin.


    This review can be cited as:

    Neish, A.H. 2006. Callophyllis laciniata A red seaweed. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25-09-2018]. Available from:

    Last Updated: 07/11/2006