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Leather Kelp Eklonia radiata


Photo of Leather KelpThe Leather Kelp is the most common large kelp on southern Australian coasts.

From the conical holdfast, a long rounded stem (0.3 to 2 metres) ends with a broad, flat, strap-like blade. From this central blade, lateral expansions ( 5 to 20 cm long and 1 - 10 cm wide) occur on both sides. These have a crinkled, lobed and rough surface with short spines (2 to 4 mm long).


Mid to dark brown.




(C. Agardh) J. Agardh


Lessoniaceae or Alariaceae


0.3 to 2 metres


Distribution map of Leather KelpOccurs from Caloundra in southern Queensland, south and west to the Abrolhos Islands in Western Australia, including Tasmania. Also New Zealand and South Africa.


Found from just below the lowest tide level and below on coasts affected by moderate to rough wave action.


After rough storms many fronds of this large kelp are washed ashore to form a major part of the flotsam and wrack of southern shores. If you look under the fronds lying stranded on the shore, hundreds of small flattened isopods and amphipods will be exposed and hop away for cover. Along southern shores thousands of Marine Slaters, Ligia australis, may also be found under the piles of wrack.


When you visit a seashore, look under clumps of broken off algae washed up on the shore and list the types of animal found there?


Bennett, I. (1987) W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. p.134, Angus & Robertson, Sydney.

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.26, New Holland, Sydney.

Edgar, G.J. (1997) Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p.55, Reed Books, Kew.

Quinn, G.P., Wescott, G.C. & Synnot, R.N. (1992) Life on the Rocky Shores of South-Eastern Australia: an illustrated field guide. p.16, Victorian National Parks Association, Melbourne.

Womersley, H.B.S. (1987) The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia. Pt. 2. p.332, South Australian Govt. Printer, Adelaide.

Brown Algae

Sausage Weed
Doubling Weed
Globe Algae
Leather Kelp
Neptune's Necklace
Strap Weed

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photo of Keith DaveyLife on Australian Seashores
by Keith Davey (C) 2000

Learning Consultant - Media
The University of Newcastle

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Scientific Consultant: Phil Colman
site created 01.01.98 : updated 01.04.2000