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Aquatic Hormosira banksii (Neptune's necklace)


Never Alone In The Bush
Staff member
Jun 16, 2011
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Melbourne, Victoria
Scientific Name: Hormosira banksii

Common Name: Neptune's necklace

Order: Fucales

Family: Hormosiraceae

Other Names: Neptune's necklace, Neptune's pearls, sea grapes or bubbleweed

Distribution: Found in New Zealand and Australia (mid NSW coast, then south around the bight to Esperence in WA)

Habitat: Mid-tidal zones on rocky platforms, and rock pools

Identifying Feature: Brown/Green in colour.
A string of hollow, salt water filled beads joined on a thin stem 10 - 30 cm long. The beads are typically 12 - 15 mm in diameter

Field Notes:
This algae is common in rock pools and rocky areas around the shore in Victoria.
Algae which is gathered for eating should only be picked fresh, don't take algae which is found floating or washed up on the shore because it may be old, "ill" or starting to decay.
Beware of the area and check for any possible sources of water contamination - algae will absorb contaminants from the water even more effectively than many fish

The beads are very firm to squeeze, but cutting them (or bursting them) will reveal a thin walled algae "shell" which is filled with salt water and gas. The gas provides buoyancy for the threads; the salt water is somewhat un-welcome on the palate.

Fishing: Can be easily gathered by hand with no special tools

Underwater on a rocky shelf:
BILD0094 (Small).jpg BILD0093 (Small).jpg

The threads laied out on a table
P1320472 (Small).jpg

Beads cut in half:
P1320473 (Small).jpg P1320476 (Small).jpg