Monday, January 24, 2011

Golden-eye lichen (Teloschistes chrysophthalmus)

Cilia surrounding the apothecia on Golden-eye Lichen


Lichens are not a single organisms.  They consist of an alga and a fungus living together in a symbiotic association.  The fungus provides the structure (thallus).  Because it can conduct photosynthesis, the alga contributes the nutrients that support both organisms.  Reproductive methods among lichens are varied.  In one method used by the Golden-eyed lichen, the fungal component engages in reproduction independent of its alga partner.  It forms cup-like apothecia in which spores form and and from which spores are distributed.  These spores will not produce another lichen because they only contain the genetic information of the fungus.  For a lichen to result, they must recombine with the alga.


This appears to be another Teloschistes chrysophthalmus.




Identifying lichens visually is usually difficult to impossible.  Many can only be positively identified by chemical analysis.  However, the apothecia on the Golden-eye Lichen seem to be distinctive.  They are the feature giving this lichen its common name, a distinction most other lichens lack.   (If anyone believes my ID is wrong, I'd appreciate a correction.)  These lichens were on the bark of a persimmon tree.


Sources and more photos:
Oklahoma State University
Irish Lichens



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12 comments:

Rambling Woods said...

How interesting Marvin...I didn't know this info....Michelle

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Wow this is some pretty lichen. I have never seen such a thing. I will be on the lookout for it.

Candra Georgi said...

that is so different!

Karen said...

Interesting info, great shots, it almost looks like coral.

Christine said...

Beautiful shots, Marvin, and great information.

Maaike said...

a great macro!
great colors

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

My gosh, those are amazingly beautiful. And thank you for the information -- nice to learn something while admiring the beauty. Your post has given me an idea of another way to LOOK! (My favorite thing about photoblogs and memes.)...

Rebecca Clayton said...

Wow--gorgeous!

lisaschaos said...

Those almost seem more like sea coral, very cool!

NicoleB said...

wow, thanks for the Info!
I didn't know that.
Lovely shots of this fellow too :)

Pat - Arkansas said...

Beautiful photos, Marvin. I learned about the fungus/alga association when I accidently discovered Cladonia cristatella ("British Soldiers") growing on some old bridge timbers near my home.

I've never seen this particular lichen; will have to keep my eyes peeled.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a beautiful lichen, they're such fascinating things