Nitzschia fonticola

(Grunow) Grunow in Van Heurck 1881      Category: Nitzschioid
BASIONYM: Nitzschia palea var. fonticola Grunow 1880
SYNONYM(S): Nitzschia fonticola Grunow in Cleve and Möller 1879 | Nitzschia palea var. fonticola Grunow 1880 
REPORTED AS: Nitzschia tropica (Hustedt, 1949, p. 147; pl. 11, figs 34-38) | Nitzschia romano (Hustedt, 1930, p. 415) 

Nitzschia filiformis


Nitzschia fonticoloides

LM scalebar = 10 µm = 80 pixels.


Contributor: Pat Kociolek - September 2011
Length Range: 10-55 µm
Width Range: 2.5-4.5 µm
Striae in 10 µm: 24-27


Valves are broadly lanceolate with margins parallel and tapering to narrow ends with knob-like, rounded apices. There is prominent gap in the central fibulae, often termed ‘central nodule’. The keel is excentric and curves at the apices. Fibulae are distinct and number 10-13 in10 µm. The striae are distinct and parallel.

This taxon is treated as Nitzschia romano Grunow by Hustedt (1930, p. 415). The size range of this taxon is more narrow than reported by Krammer and Lange-Bertalot (1988) our observations.

The taxon Nitzschia tropica Hustedt was described from Africa (former Belgium Congo). The name has been applied - incorrectly - to populations of N. fonticola from the US. Nitzschia tropica is more linear and has a straight raphe (Simonsen 1987, Krammer and Lange-Bertalot 1988), as compared to N. fonticola. Nitzschia tropica has not verified from collections in the US.

Original Description

Basionym: Nitzschia palea var. fonticola
Author: Grunow 1880
Length Range: µm
Striae in 10 µm:

Original Description

Original Images

Cite This Page:
Kociolek, P. (2011). Nitzschia fonticola. In Diatoms of the United States. Retrieved October 25, 2016, from

Species: Nitzschia fonticola

Contributor: Pat Kociolek

Reviewer: Sarah Spaulding


Hustedt, F. (1930). Die Kieselalgen Deutschlands, Osterreichs und der Schweiz mit Berucksichtigung der ubrigen Lander Europas sowie der angrenzenden Meersgebiete. In: Dr. L. Rabenhorst's Kryptogamen-Flora von Deutschland, Osterreich und der Schweiz. Leipzig, Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft Geest und Portig K.-G. Vol. 7, Part 3, pp. 557-816.

Hustedt, F. (1949). Süsswasser-Diatomeen aus dem Albert-Nationalpark in Belgisch-Kongo. Exploration du Parc National Albert, Mission H. Damas (1935-1936), Institut des Parcs Nationaux du Congo Belge, Bruxelles 8:199 pp., 16 pls.

Krammer, K. and Lange-Bertalot, H. (1988). Bacillariophyceae. 2. Teil: Bacillariaceae, Epithemiaceae, Surirellaceae. In: Ettl, H., J. Gerloff, H. Heynig and D. Mollenhauer (eds.) Susswasserflora von Mitteleuropa, Band 2/2. Gustav Fisher Verlag, Jena.

Links & ID's

Index Nominum Algarum (INA)

Original INA

California Academy of Sciences (CAS)

Nitzschia fonticola CAS

North American Diatom Ecological Database (NADED)

NADED ID: 48011

Autecology Discussion

EMAP Assessment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) western Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) study was completed during the years 2000-2004 (see citations at bottom of this page). Over 1200 streams and rivers in 12 western states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming) were selected for sampling based on a stratified randomized design. This type of design insures that ecological resources are sampled in proportion to their actual geographical presence. Stratified randomized design also allows for estimates of stream length with a known confidence in several “condition classes” (good or least-disturbed, intermediately-disturbed, and poor or most-disturbed) for biotic condition, chemistry and habitat.

EMAP Distribution

Nitzschia fonticola

EMAP Response Plots

Nitzschia fonticola

EMAP citations

Results are published in:

Johnson, T., Hermann, K., Spaulding, S., Beyea, B., Theel, C., Sada, R., Bollman, W., Bowman, J., Larsen, A., Vining, K., Ostermiller, J., Petersen, D. Hargett, E. and Zumberge, J. (2009). An ecological assessment of USEPA Region 8 streams and rivers. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 Report, 178 p.

Stoddard, J. L., Peck, D. V., Olsen, A. R., Larsen, D. P., Van Sickle, J., Hawkins, C. P., Hughes, R. M., Whittier, T. R., Lomnicky, G. A., Herlihy, A. T., Kaufman, P. R., Peterson, S. A., Ringold, P. L., Paulsen, S. G., and Blair, R. (2005). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP) western streams and rivers statistical summary. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Report 620/R-05/006, 1,762 p.

Stoddard, J. L., Peck, D. V., Paulsen, S. G., Van Sickle, J., Hawkins, C. P., Herlihy, A. T., Hughes, R. M., Kaufman, P. R., Larsen, D. P., Lomnicky, G. A., Olsen, A. R., Peterson, S. A., Ringold, P. L., and Whittier, T. R. (2005). An ecological assessment of western streams and rivers. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Report 620/R-05/005, 49 p.