Default Small Screen

save the Blue Tier

tasmanian liverworts - lepidoziaceae

Zoopsis sp.

Zoopsis argentea
1. detailed view of Zoopsis argentea var. argentea


Zoopsis species are amongst the smallest of livrworts, some no larger than 0.5 mm wide including leaves. They have been found growing on damp rotting logs in the shade as well as occasional epiphyte on manfern. Pix on right provides some idea of how they appear in the field.

Zoopsis srgentea

Z. argentea has been the most common species we have encountered on the Blue Tier so far, although 2 other species are reported for Tasmania - Z. setulosa and Z. leitgebiana. The first two are almost identical superficially, the minute diffrence consisting of the number of cells on leaf papillae (pix 1, bottom right).

Taxonomists have divided Z. argentea into 2 varieties, var. argentea with stem comprising of 2 cells width dorsally and less than 0.5 mm wide as well as var. flagelliformis which is 4-5 cells wide dorsally reaching 0.8 mm width; the latter is endemic to N.Z.

The shoot in image above is two cells wide, with 'leaves' comprising of a further 2 cells with sausage-shaped papillae curled around the cells. There is a rudimentary set of underleaves on the ventral side.

Specimens being so tiny, it is not easy to recognize what is going on in a small patch of green so we considered outselves very fortunate to collect some perianths which are depicted below. Asexual reproduction being unknown for the genus (exception being discovery of tubers in a New Zealand population of Z. leitgebiana), spores are the main means of reproduction.

Zoopsis argentea perianth
2. perianth
Zoopsis argentea perianth - larger
3. perianth detail
Zoopsis argentea capsule
4. capsule
Zoopsis argentea capsule
5. capsule wall
Zoopsis argentea spores
6. spores

- Engel, J.J. & Glenny, D., A Flora of the Liverworts and Hornworts of New Zealand, Vol 1, p. 477-495; ISBN 978-1-930723-67-2

Page URL:

Back to top

101016-1, 3, 1, 181, 3837