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You are here: Home / Aquatic Species / Species Profiles / Caulerpa, Mediterranean Clone
Aquatic Species
Species Profiles

Caulerpa, Mediterranean Clone

Caulerpa, Mediterranean CloneScientific name: Caulerpa taxifolia (Vahl) C. Agandh (ITIS; name is accepted but unverified)

Common names: Caulerpa, Mediterranean clone; Killer algae

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Selected Resources

Native To: Caulerpa taxifolia is widespread in tropical habitats; the Mediterranean clone may have originated in Australia (Jousson et al. 1998; Meusnier et al. 2001)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 2000 (Woodfield 2008)

Means of Introduction: Aquarium trade (Woodfield 2008)

Impact: Crowds out native species (Woodfield 2008)

Current U.S. Distribution:

Federally Regulated:

  • Noxious Weeds Program
    USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.
    Includes species listed as a Federal Noxious Weed under the Plant Protection Act, which makes it illegal in the U.S. to import or transport between States without a permit.



Selected Resources:

Council or Task Force

Species of Concern Fact Sheet: Caulerpa
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.

Priority Species: Caulerpa
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.


Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S. - Fact Sheet: Caulerpa taxifolia
USDA. APHIS. PPQ. Center for Plant Health Science and Technology; California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Invasive Species Compendium - Caulerpa taxifolia
CAB International.

Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE): Species Factsheet - Caulerpa taxifolia
European Commission. Sixth Framework Programme.

Non-native Species Information: Caulerpa
Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat.

Rhode Island Marine & Estuarine Invasive Species Site - Killer Algae
Narragansett Bay Research Reserve. Coastal Training Program.

Phytosanitary Alert System - Caulerpa taxifolia
North American Plant Protection Organization.

Environment Alert Bulletin - Caulerpa taxifolia, a Growing Menace for the Temperate Marine Environment (Jan 2004)
United Nations Environment Programme.

Global Invasive Species Database - Caulerpa taxifolia (alga)
IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Federal Government

PLANTS Database - Killer Alga
USDA. NRCS. National Plant Data Center.

Aquatic Invasive Species: Caulerpa taxifolia
DOC. NOAA. National Marine Fisheries Service. West Coast Region.

National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System (NEMESIS) - Caulerpa taxifolia (invasive genotype)
Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Marine Invasions Research Lab.

International Government

Weeds in Australia - Aquarium Caulerpa (Caulerpa taxifolia)
Australian Government. Department of the Environment and Energy.

Eradicating and preventing the spread of the invasive alga Caulerpa taxifolia in New South Wales (Jun 2004)
New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (Australia).


Killer Alga, Caulerpa taxifolia (Bryosipdales: Caulerpaceae)
University of California - Riverside. Center for Invasive Species Research.

Plant Profile: Caulerpa taxifolia
University of Florida. IFAS. Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.

Introduced Species Summary Project - Killer Algae
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.


Deep Sea Invasion (Apr 1, 2003)


Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Caulerpa taxifolia. [Accessed Feb 28, 2015].

Jousson, O., J. Pawlowski, L. Zaninetti, A. Meinesz, and C.F. Boudouresque. 1998. Molecular evidence for the aquarium origin of the green alga Caulerpa taxifolia introduced to the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 172:275-280.

Meusnier, I., J.L. Olsen, W.T. Stam, C. Destombe, M. Valero. 2001. Phylogenetic analyses of Caulerpa taxifolia (Chlorophyta) and of its associated bacterial microflora provide clues to the origin of the Mediterranean introduction. Molecular Ecology 10(4):931-946.

Woodfield, R. 2008. Noxious Seaweed Found in Southern California Coastal Waters (PDF | 103 KB). NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service Southwest Regional Office.

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Last Modified: Aug 18, 2018
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