Drachiella spectabilis Ernst & J. Feldmann
S. of Beetle Head, Clare Island, Co. Mayo, Ireland. 24 Jun 1990. Picture copyright Bernard Picton, Ulster Museum
Description: Thallus foliose, attached by a short stipe with flat red fronds, up to 15 cm wide showing blue iridescence. Branching in fan-like manner, without veins. The apices of the branches are pointed and may reattach to the surface in older plants.
Habitat: Common, although unrecognised for many years because of its subtidal habitat. Epilithic in exposed subtidal sites in clear water to depths of 30 m.
Distribution: Sublittoral in Britain and Ireland in large patches mainly on south-westerly coasts but recorded from the Shetlands.
Similar species: Other species with fan-shaped blades. See Drachiella heterocarpa and Rhodophyllis divaricata.
Key Identification Features: Thin fronds extending across rockfaces. Strong blue iridescence when alive.