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Calliarthron tuberculosum is characterized by a thallus that is hard because of calcareous deposits contained within the cell walls, but also has uncalcified joints that allow it to flex in response to the waves to which it is subjected. This specimen was about 5 cm long.
Spotted on the beach at Joseph Whidbey State Park.
Coralline algae play an important role in the ecology of coral reefs. Sea urchins, parrot fish, and limpets and chitons (both mollusks) feed on coralline algae. In the temperate Mediterranean sea, coralline algae are the main builders of a typical algal reef.