Filamentous Algae

Spirogyra, Anabaena, Oscillatoria, Lyngbya, Pithophora spp., etc.

Description

Filamentous Algae

Filamentous algae are single algae cells that form long visible chains, threads, or filaments. These filaments intertwine forming a mat that resembles wet wool. Filamentous algae starts growing along the bottom in shallow water or attached to structures in the water (like rocks or other aquatic plants). Often filamentous algae floats to the surface forming large mats, which are commonly referred to as “Pond scums.” There are many species of filamentous algae and often more than one species will be present at the same time in the pond.

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates (i.e. bugs, worms, etc.). These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. Filamentous algae has no known direct food value to wildlife.