Aegagrophila linnaei

Aegagrophila linnaei is a filamentous green algae in freshwater and some brackish-water coastal habitats and has three different growth forms:

  • Unattached and radially constructed aggregation to form the so-celled ‘lake balls’
  • Attached hemispherical cushions or dense carpet-like mats sometimes known as ‘carpet blanketweed’
  • Loose-lying mats of rather indefinite extent

Species detail

The lake balls have been the source of much fascination and are on stamps issued in Iceland and Japan. In the Hokkaido district of Japan they are part of the local folklore where each year is held a 3-day ceremony focused on these balls.

  • High power view of cells showing details of branch pattern
    Taxonomy

    Get a detailed classification of the different growth forms of Aegagrophila linnaei.

  • Dense masses of Aegagropila
    Distribution and habitat

    Aegagrophila linnaei has a worldwide distribution and, in particular, the lake balls have gathered significant interest in some countries. Find out where this species can be found around the world and the types of habitat it grows in.

  • Close view of mass of soft Aegagropila balls in Loch Bruggan
    Physiology

    Discover the factors that contribute to the growth and form of Aegagrophila linnaei.

  • View of a portion of the dense carpet form of Aegagropila
    Reproduction

    Find out about the reproductive processes of Aegagrophila linnaei.

  • Small and hard Aegagropila balls floating on the surface of the freshwater Loch Ollay
    Conservation

    Learn why Aegagrophila linnaei is protected in a number of countries and find out the status of the species in the British Isles.

  • Low power microscopic view of the branched filaments of Aegagropila
    References

    Get reference matierial for Aegagrophila linnaei.

Images

Close view of mass of soft Aegagropila balls in Loch Bruggan

Close view of mass of soft Aegagropila balls in Loch Bruggan where the water is brackish.  

Low power microscopic view of the branched filaments of Aegagropila

Low power microscopic view of the branched filaments of Aegagropila  (photo Chris Carter).

Dense masses of Aegagropila

Dense masses of Aegagropila ballsphotographed in September 2009 within a bay in Loch Bruggan on the island of South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland.

High power view of cells showing details of branch pattern

High power view of cells showing details of branch pattern (photo Chris Carter)

View of a portion of the dense carpet form of Aegagropila

View of a portion of the dense carpet form of Aegagropila.

Small and hard Aegagropila balls floating on the surface of the freshwater Loch Ollay

Small and hard Aegagropila balls floating on the surface of the freshwater Loch Ollay on South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. 

Author

Professor David John
Scientific Associate
Department of Botany

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