Identification: Lichen with an unusual characteristic

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by Nik, Jun 29, 2020 at 4:45 AM.

  1. Nik

    Nik Active Member

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    Does anyone know the ID of this lichen? It hugs the rocks very close, always on the side and never on top. Remarkably, at night, when we have our normal outdoor lighting, it “glows”/reflects light in a bright white color. I find it very unusual.
     

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  2. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    Good afternoon Nik, that's an interesting one. I've just found and read this after your posting. Might be a difficult ID.
    Lichen Collection and Identification
    Have a look, it shows that there are over 3500 types in the US and far harder to ID than anything else in the plant world. 'Good luck'.
     
  3. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thank you for posting @Nik - nice find, and useful habitat observation: Chosen spot on substrate speaks to preferences around e.g. sun/wind/moisture/nitrogen, and the lifestyle "story", and can help with ID as well.

    Agreed @Acerholic - lichen identification is challenging :-)

    Photo 1&2 could be foliose, can't tell from this distance: There are tiny structures on the top and underside of lichens that are often needed for ID.
    Photo #3 appears to be a leprose or dust lichen (genus Lepraria and others): These are generally powdery, without other structures. The colour and substrate will narrow this down, in combination with a list of leprose species known from your region.

    UV +/- is another character of some lichens that can help with ID.
     
  4. Nik

    Nik Active Member

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    Thank you for your suggestions!
    The first two photos are extreme close ups of what I believe is the same lichen as in the third photo (which is a zoom out shot of a large patch). I am fairly certain they are the exact same species.
    I checked some pictures online of Lepraria and it seems very close to that. Thanks again! I will try to take some photos at night with outdoor lighting and with UV light, and then post them here.
    We have plenty of the foliose, I am quite sure it is not that (two photos below) plus another unusual one that I am curious about, if you can help...
     

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  5. Nik

    Nik Active Member

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    Lepraria incana seems like the closest for the original question based on pictures that I can find.
     
  6. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi @Nik - I am stoked that you are interested in these! Most folks ignore the tiny and or leprose :-)

    So ... for the original photos: The first two appear to me to be different, because in the second photo I can see lobate margins, what appears to be a foliose structure. Some crustose lichen have lobate margins so I'm not certain without a much closer shot how to group these. However! there is Lepraria lobificans which has lobate margins that you might take a look at.

    The third photo looks classically leprose, because I can't see lobate bits. But you can see more details having direct access to them - I can only report what is visible in photo.

    I agree that this looks like Lepraria incana, but it is likely a similar species. L. incana is a Euro species, not known from N.A., and the N.A. equivalent L. hodkinsoniana is mainly on bark substrate rather than rock. My species list of greenish Leprarias is for PNW, and you have some different species options on the East coast including L.n eglecta and Leproloma.

    The next set of three photos: First two are likely a Xanthoparmelia. The third looks like a member of Porpidia genus, one of the crustose lichens, but there are other possibilities.
     
  7. Nik

    Nik Active Member

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    Thank you so much for the useful information @Frog !
    I also found this article online:

    http://sweetgum.nybg.org/images3/1090/523/OP12_p5_20October2013.pdf

    It helped me narrow it down to Lepraria cryophila, mainly based on distribution, habitat (a perfect description of where I see it in our yard), and the fact that with UV light it is bright blue-white. This is a photo I took last night with a small UV light and my phone (bad quality because it needed 3 seconds exposure and my hand was not perfectly steady).
     

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  8. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    And thank you so much for sharing this Lepraria key!
     
  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society

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    Can I second that from Frog, you are certainly throwing in some interesting threads Nik.
     

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