A little-known, but ecologically important non-geniculate coralline, Lithothamnion prolifer, is recorded from a number of tropical Indo-Pacific sites, including Fiji, Australia, Kiribati and Indonesia. The species occurs primarily on vertical walls of caves and overhangs in Fiji and Australia, but was also found as rhodoliths in Kiribati. Lithothamnion prolifer is characterized by the combination of characters which follow. The thallus is extremely glossy, smooth, and rosy coloured. Thalli usually produce complanate protuberances, but protuberances become terete when growing on well lit, horizontal substrata, when unattached, or when growing on loose substrata. Conceptacles occur mainly on the tips of protuberances, and tetra/bisporangial conceptacles are large (to 1300 mu m external diameter, with chambers up to 1100 mu m diameter). The tetra/bisporangial conceptacles are flush or only slightly raised, and often extensive and irregularly shaped (resembling small sori). They lack a raised rim, and have flattened pore plates. The rosette cells surrounding the tetra/bisporangial pore appear somewhat sunken below the surrounding roof cells in SEM, and the cells of filaments lining the pore canals of tetra/bisporangial conceptacles do not differ from the cells of filaments making up the rest of the roof. Old conceptacles persist and become buried in the thallus, and are then usually completely filled in by irregularly arranged calcified cells.
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