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Turtle weed, Chlorodesmis fastigiata, at 6 meters depth.jpg
Turtle weed, Chlorodesmis fastigiata, at 6 meters depth
Scientific classification e
Phylum: Chlorophyta
Class: Ulvophyceae
Order: Bryopsidales
Family: Udoteaceae
Genus: Chlorodesmis
Harvey & Bailey, 1841
Type species
Chlorodesmis comosa
File:Turtle weed, Chlorodesmis fastigiata, with zooidangia

Chlorodesmis is a genus of green algae in the family Udoteaceae.[1] Algae in this genus produce the toxic diterpene chlorodesmin to defend themselves against generalist herbivores[2] This toxin also kills certain corals that touch the alga. Certain fish like the green coral goby that live in the corals eat the alga to enhance their own toxicity. Other coral dwelling fish like Paragobiodon echinocephalus actively trim the alga even though they don't eat it.[3]


  1. ^ a b Guiry, M.D.; Guiry, G.M. (2007). "Genus: Chlorodesmis taxonomy browser". AlgaeBase version 4.2 World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
  2. ^ Annu. Rev. Mar. Sci. 2009. 1:193-212. Marine Chemical Ecology: Chemical Signals and Cues Structure Marine Populations, Communities, and Ecosystems
  3. ^ Dixson, D. L.; Hay, M. E. (2012). "Corals Chemically Cue Mutualistic Fishes to Remove Competing Seaweeds". Science. 338 (6108): 804–807. doi:10.1126/science.1225748. PMC 3691814. PMID 23139333.

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