Prickly Seaweed

Prickly Seaweed (Acanthophora spicifera)

Acanthophora spicifera

Photo courtesy of DAR

Description:

  • Smooth cylindrical branches (CABI, 2019)
  • Can be light pink, brown, green or yellow in color (CABI, 2019)
  • Usually dark in color in intertidal areas and lighter in color in low water motion areas (GISD, 2021)

Habitat:

  • Typically found on small reef flats, in tidepools, and in the intertidal zone of benches (GISD, 2021)
  • Generally attaches to hard substrates (UH Botany Dept., 2001)
Acanthophora spicifera

Photo courtesy of DAR

Impacts & Concern:

  • Reproduces asexually through fragmentation, which leads to widespread distribution (UH Botany Dept., 2001)
  • Often grows next to and competes with native species (UH Botany Dept., 2001) 
  • Most abundant seaweed on shallow reefs, most widespread invasive algae in Hawai‘i (HEAR, 2017)

Introduction:

  • Unintentionally introduced from Guam through hull fouling in 1950 (HEAR, 2017)
  • First fragments were discovered in Pearl Harbor in 1952 (HEAR, 2017)

Distribution in Hawaii (UH Botany Dept., 2001)

  • Kauai: Present 
  • O‘ahu: Present
  • Molokai: Present
  • Lanai: Present
  • Maui: Present
  • Big Island: Present

Related AIS Team Management Projects:

  • Urchin outplanting efforts in Kāne‘ohe Bay and Waikiki MLCD/FMA

References:

  • UH Botany Department (2001). Acanthophora spicifera. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.hawaii.edu/reefalgae/invasive_algae/rhodo/acanthophora_spicifera.htm
  • Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) (2021) Species profile: Acanthophora spicifera. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1060 on 22-03-2021.
  • CABI Invasive Species Compendium (2019). Acanthophora Spicifera Datasheet. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/107763
  • Hawaii Ecosystems at Risk Project (HEAR) (2017). Acanthophora spicifera (Rhodomelaceae) – Hear species info. Retrieved March 22, 2021, from http://www.hear.org/species/acanthophora_spicifera/