Ehrenberg 1844      Category: Centric
TYPE SPECIES: Chaetoceros tetrachaeta Ehrenberg




CLASS: Coscinodiscophyceae
  ORDER: Chaetocerotales
    FAMILY: Chaetoceraeae

  1. Frustules with long, thin spines
  2. Spines overlap to form colonies of several cells

Chaetoceros is a centric diatom with very lightly silicified frustules. Each frustule possesses four long, thin spines, or setae. The setae link the frustules together to form colonies of several cells. Frustules are usually seen in girdle view.

Chaetoceros is primarily a marine genus, with only a few representatives in inland waters of the United States. Inland cells reach their greatest abundances in saline or brine contaminated rivers and lakes. Chaetoceros produces heavily silicified resting cells that are often preserved in sediments. Because of high growth rates and contain high concentrations of lipids, Chaetoceros has been used as a potential alga to harvest lipids for biofuels.

Cite This Page:
Spaulding, S., and Edlund, M. (2008). Chaetoceros. In Diatoms of the United States. Retrieved April 19, 2018, from

Contributor: Sarah Spaulding | Mark Edlund - December 2008
Reviewer: Sam Rushforth - April 2010