Small invertebrates inhabiting the crustose alga Pseudolithoderma sp. (Ralfsiaceae) in northern New Zealand

Jane E. Williamson*, Robert G. Creese

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study documents the fauna in the size range 0.1-5.0 mm found on the encrusting brown alga Pseudolithoderma sp., common on patches of the honeycomb barnacle Chamaesipho columna on mid-intertidal shores in northern New Zealand. Collections of fauna were made in four different habitats associated with this alga and in the presence or absence of underlying barnacles: (1) mature Pseudolithoderma crust on barnacles, (2) mature Pseudolithoderma crust occurring on bare rock, (3) Pseudolithoderma flaking off rock, and (4) barnacles without Pseudolithoderma. The invertebrate species composition differed from assemblages recorded for other, more structurally complex algae, such as coralline turfs. More species were found on Pseudolithoderma than on bare barnacles. There were no significant differences in the number of species between different habitats containing Pseudolithoderma; however, flaking Pseudolithoderma had fewer individuals than other Pseudolithoderma habitats. We hypothesize that less structurally complex habitats, such as encrusting algae, are more suitable to fauna with protective shells or tubes; and speculate that the large numbers of such fauna in this assemblage influence the ecology of Pseudolithoderma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-332
Number of pages112
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • amphipod
  • epifauna
  • gastropod
  • grazing
  • habitat structure
  • insect larva
  • intertidal
  • invertebrate
  • New Zealand
  • Pseudolithoderma sp.


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