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Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Chlorophyta
Classis: Bryopsidophyceae
Ordo: Bryopsidales
Familia: Caulerpaceae
Genus: Caulerpa
Species: C. lentillifera -C. prolifera -C. racemosa -C. taxifolia

English: Caulerpa
Français: Caulerpe
Italiano: Caulerpa
日本語: イワズタ属
Українська: Каулепра

Caulerpa is a genus of seaweeds in the family Caulerpaceae (among the green algae). They are unusual because they consist of only one cell with many nuclei, making them among the biggest single cells in the world. A species in the Mediterranean can have a stolon more than 3 metres (9 ft) long, with up to 200 fronds.

Food use

Some species (especially Caulerpa lentillifera and Caulerpa racemosa) are eaten under the names sea grape or green caviar or umi-budo in Okinawa. They have a peppery taste. Seagrapes are eaten in Indonesian cuisine, sometimes fresh, and othertimes coated in sugar. They are raised in Cebu, for domestic consumption in the Philippines as well as export to Japan.

Possible risk of poisoning

Unconfirmed reports claim that the alkaloid Caulerpin found in seagrapes can sometimes cause poisoning.

Invasive behaviour

Another species, Caulerpa taxifolia, has become an invasive species in the Mediterranean Sea, Australia and southern California (where it has since been eradicated). It is thought that Caulerpa species have such invasive properties in these regions due to their capability to thrive in temperate waters, along with their freedom from natural predators. Most Caulerpa species evolved in tropical waters, where herbivores have immunity to toxic compounds within the alga. Temperate water herbivores have no natural immunity to these toxins, allowing Caulerpa to grow unchecked if introduced to temperate waters. C. racemosa has recently been found in waters around Crete, where it is thought to have contributed to a significant reduction in fisheries. The alga has invaded the area from the warmer waters of the Red Sea.

In U.S. waters, the Mediterranean strain of Caulerpa taxifolia is listed as a federal noxious weed, under the Plant Protection Act. The Aquatic Nuisance Species Taskforce has also created a National Management Plan for the Genus Caulerpa. The state of California also prohibits possession of nine different species of Caulerpa.

Use in aquariums

Caulerpa is common in the aquarium hobby as a nitrate absorber because of its rapid growth under relatively adverse conditions. It may also be used in refugiums for a long term nitrite absorber. Many introductions of invasive Caulerpa to the wild are thought to have occurred via aquarium dumping although there is no proof of it.


The species currently recognised are:

* C. agardhii
* C. alternans
* C. annulata
* C. antoensis
* C. articulata
* C. ashmeadii
* C. bartoniae
* C. bikinensis
* C. biserrulata
* C. brachypus
* C. brownii
* C. buginensis
* C. cactoides
* C. carruthersii
* C. cliftonii
* C. constricta
* C. crassifolia
* C. cupressoides
* C. dichotoma
* C. diligulata
* C. distichophylla
* C. ellistoniae
* C. elongata
* C. falcifolia
* C. faridii
* C. fastigiata
* C. fergusonii
* C. filicoides
* C. filiformis
* C. flexilis
* C. floridana
* C. harveyi
* C. hedleyi
* C. heterophylla
* C. holmesiana
* C. imbricata
* C. juniperoides
* C. kempfii
* C. lagara
* C. lanuginosa
* C. lentillifera
* C. lessonii
* C. longifolia
* C. macrophysa
* C. manorensis
* C. matsueana
* C. mexicana
* C. microphysa
* C. murrayi
* C. nummularia
* C. obscura
* C. okamurae
* C. oligophylla
* C. ollivieri
* C. opposita
* C. papillosa
* C. parvula
* C. paspaloides
* C. peltata
* C. pickeringii
* C. pinnata
* C. plumulifera
* C. prolifera
* C. pusilla
* C. qureshii
* C. racemosa
* C. remotifolia
* C. reniformis
* C. reyesii
* C. scalpelliformis
* C. sedoides
* C. selago
* C. serrulata
* C. sertularioides
* C. seuratii
* C. simpliciuscula
* C. spathulata
* C. subserrata
* C. taxifolia
* C. trifaria
* C. urvilleana
* C. vanbossea
* C. veravalensis
* C. verticillata
* C. vesiculifera
* C. webbiana
* C. zeyheri


1. ^ Guiry, M.D. & Guiry, G.M. (2007). "Genus: Caulerpa taxonomy browser". AlgaeBase version 4.2 World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. http://www.algaebase.org/browse/taxonomy/?id=8295. Retrieved 2007-09-23.

Further reading

Jacobs, William P. (December 1994). "Caulerpa". Scientific American 271 (6): 66–71.

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License