Two species of sargassum are found in the Carribean: Sargassum natans and Sargassum fluitans. The photos and drawings below provide assistance in differentiating between the two.
Click on any photo below to open a larger version.
Above: Sargassum natans, left, and Sargassum fluitans, right – photo by GCRL
Above: Sargassum natans, Common Gulfweed – photo by Phillipe Rouja
Above: Sargassum fluitans, Broad-toothed Gulfweed – photo by GCRL
The characteristics described below are useful in differentiating between the two species. However, characteristics vary and identification of a particular sample may not be straightforward.
- Pods – usually tipped with spikes or small leaves
- Leaves – long-stalked, narrow
- Pods – usually not tipped with spikes or small leaves
- Leaves – short-stalked, broad
Above – Illustrations by Julia S. Child (Schneider and Searles, 1991)
This identification guide courtesy of Dr. Jim Franks and the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory – please click HERE for their site.