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for being so enthusiastic.
Something I can add: the crusts are always there. Only the apothecia seem to be ephemeral. I will take your suggestion of trying to select two or three thalli and take photos from them in the near future and in the next summer, when I suppose that the apothecia will desappear (if not completely, at least most of them).
Only thing you could possibly do to improve the documentation of this amazing phenomenon… (why is it so amazing? mushrooms do it every year! but it’s so rare among lichens)… I’m having trouble matching recent fertile photos with old sterile photos. I suppose if you were really feeling motivated, you could mark a few of them with a little ribbon or something maybe, ensuring that you were taking photographs of the exact same specimen both with and without. Or wait… are you thinking that the entire thallus is emphemeral: that each thallus takes about a year to grow, starting sterile, later turning abundantly fertile, then finally disappearing?? That would be amazing to demonstrate, too. I was thinking maybe the apothecia are being reabsorbed into the thallus or dissolving or falling off somehow, thus returning to sterile state periodically, for example, during dry periods.
Fascinating observation. Thanks so much for taking the time to document and share this.
Returning to the place of this observation, I think that my previous conjecture was right. In fact, I could see again these crusts full of apothecia. Summarizing:
1- First time (Summer 2011) I saw these crusts, living on a barrier on the side of a road inside a small village) they have no apothecia;
2- In December 2011 they have plenty of apothecia (observation 86132 is from that time);
3- In April 2012 most of the crust were completely sterile again (observation 110703 gives the report and the conjecture was formulated);
4- The new photos attached show that the crusts gained “life” again, they are full of apothecia, very similar to those observed before.
I uploaded some recent photos of the sterile thalli, even those of young specimens.
I will keep this in mind and wait to see what happens in wintertime. Thanks, Jason, for the information.
I’ve seen it in a few locations here in southern California. But one location in particular I visited right after the rainy season and it was quite abundant, and because it was damp at the time, it was easy to find because the tiny red apothecia were eye-catching. Sarcogyne privigna was also abundant (normally Lecidea laboriosa is the common endolithic species here, so I made special note of it at the time). I passed by the same location some months later, and while the Sarcognye was still evident and abundant, I could scarcely find the Trapelia. At the time I just wrote it off as harsh lighting or being too tired and heat-exhausted from the tough climb in full summer sun. But I wonder if you’ve got the real reason: maybe the apothecia are ephemeral?
Kerry Knudsen has demonstrated somewhat convincingly that a rare mazaediate crust (Texosporum sancti-jacobi) is emphemeral, thus explaining the apparent rarity of the species. Trapelia coarctata inhabits very similar habitat (but soil instead of dead vegetative matter). Maybe something similar is going on with the Trapelia?
Note that compared with the first observation posted (observation 86132) the apothecia seem to be “old” and are “disappearing”. This is a strange behaviour of this species. In fact, I had observed the sterile thallus much before I posted the first observation. I passed recently to the place and they are sterile again.
Is it possible that it bears fruit every year?
Notice the white rim formed from the apothecia erupting from the thallus and carrying bits of white thallus with it around the rims. This seems to be distinctive and consistent.
Created: 2012-09-21 16:54:25 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2012-09-21 16:58:11 EDT (-0400)
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