Taxonomy Search:

Caulerpa taxifolia (invasive genotype)
Image courtesy of The Southwest Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Caulerpa taxifolia (invasive genotype)
Taxonomic Group: Algae
Common name: 'KILLER ALGAE'


Caulerpa taxifolia is a green seaweed, which grows as long lines of fern-like fronds arising from a linear or branched stolon. The invasive strain of this species is native to Moreton Bay in Queensland, Australia and has been introduced to the Mediterranean, southern Australia, and California. Its invasion in the Mediterranean made headlines, as it spread quickly and extensively covered the seabed in many places. However, its abundance peaked in 2007 and has declined since. It has been widely used as an ornamental plant in public and private aquaria which is considered the main vector for its introduction. Populations in California were successfully eradicated in 2002 and its sale was banned throughout the state. Introduced populations have had negative impacts on the distribution and abundance of seagrass beds, macroalgae, and invertebrate communities.

* Content for this species is based on the literature and peer review is pending - if you have comments or feedback please contact Paul Fofonoff at

This is some default tab content, embedded directly inside this space and not via Ajax. It can be shown when no tabs are automatically selected, or associated with a certain tab, in this case, the first tab.


Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, Simkanin C, & Carlton JT (2018)
National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System.
Access Date:

Marine Invasions Lab
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

P.O. Box 28
647 Contees Wharf Road
Edgewater, MD 21037-0028 Tel: 443 482 2200
Fax: 443 482 2380

Databases Overview| Chesapeake Bay | National Database |