Observation 91142: Lichenostigma saxicola K. Knudsen & Kocourk.

Growing on bare granitic rock and neighboring thalli of Aspicilia confusa and Lecidea laboriosa. On well-sheltered north slope in open live oak forest, apparently long protected from fire, having escaped both of the major fires in the last 20 years even though areas were burned less than 100 yards away.

This is apparently an extremely common nonlichenized rock-inhabiting fungus. It is often collected with saxicolous lichens. It is characterized by scattered minute black convex stroma, most of which are sterile. (Look for ones that have developed into tiny disks.) Unlike some other related species, it has few if any visible “stolons” connecting the stroma. I’ve been told that these fungi opportunistically parasitize free-living single-celled green algae growing on the surface and just within the substrate.

K. Knudsen warns me that Lichenothelia convexa is another superficially very similar species. It has larger stroma, more conspicuous stolons connecting the stroma, the spores are 1-4-septate to sometimes even submuriform (but otherwise identical size, color and texture), and the asci have an amyloid centrum (stained with Lugol’s solution after a K wash).

Species Lists


Stroma, mounted in water, at 1000x, with a single spore shown in inset, same scale.

Proposed Names

87% (1)
Used references: Knudsen, K. & J. Kocourková. 2010. A new Lichenostigma species (Genus incertae sedis) from southern California. The Bryologist 113(2): 229-234.
Kocourková, J. & K. Knudsen. 2011. Lichenological notes2: Lichenothelia convexa, a poorly known rock-inhabiting and lichenicolous fungus. Mycotaxon 115: 345-351.
Based on microscopic features: strictly 1-septate brown spores ~11×6µm

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Created: 2012-03-28 14:32:15 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2012-03-28 14:43:46 CDT (-0500)
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