Caulerpa lentillifera J. Agardh
Caulerpa kilneri J. Agardh, Caulerpa longistipitata (Weber Bosse) Sved.
|English||Seagrapes, green caviar.|
|Philippines||Ararusip, arurusip (Ilocano), lato (Visayan).|
Caulerpa lentillifera is widely distributed in tropical areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In Southeast Asia, it has been recorded in Thailand, Vietnam, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
Caulerpa lentillifera is a stoloniferous plant that can grow up to 10 cm tall. It has branched stolons, cylindrical in cross-section and measuring 1-1.5(-2) mm in diametre. The descending branches (pillars) are with tufts of rhizoids that arise at irregular intervals from ventral side of the stolons. The fronds are rather densely set, without or with very short stalks, naked at the lower section on the upright axis, usually less than 5 mm long and measuring 1-2 mm in diametre. They consist of an irregularly branched or more often unbranched cylindrical axis, completely and usually densely covered by subspherical or more or less club-shaped branchlets, and measuring 1-3 mm in diametre. Besides, they are arranged in 5-8 longitudinal rows or more irregularly and imbricately arranged and are always supported by the clearly constricted pedicels. The thalli are holocarpic when fertile.
Caulerpa lentillifera is generally found on sandy to muddy substrates on reef flats that are not exposed during low tides and where the water is generally calm. It may form extensive beds or meadows in exceptionally good habitats. The alga is stenohaline and cannot thrive in areas where salinity is less than 25%. Salinities lower than 30% would already result in crop loss. Growth of natural stocks in habitats where water becomes brackish during the rainy season, or those cultured in ponds, is highly seasonal.