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Has long, branched filaments made up of numerous cells. Floats in round aggregations that can range from 1 to 8 in. in diameter. The clumps may feel like a wet cotton ball when squeezed. Unlike many alga, Pithophora is not slimy to the touch, but rather cottony and coarse. When taken out of the water, each mass is hard to tear apart and keeps its formation. Filaments may be seen with the naked eye.
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Can infest ponds and other slow-moving waters. Growth of this alga is common in summer, but can persist year-round in heavier infestations. As with other algae, infestations are associated with nutrient-rich waters.
Lyngbya has less branching and does not keep its formation when removed from the water.
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