Location: 50°36’21.49"N, 114°58’49.52"W, el. 2430m. Ptarmigan Cirque is 2 km E of Highwood Pass.

Identification: Compare the present observation with these photos of Sporastatia by Stridvall, especially this one, and with these two photos by Einar Timdal: Timdal 01, Timdal 02. There are two North American species, S. testudinea and S. polyspora (NA Lichen Checklist). Brodo mentions that S. polyspora is primarily an arctic species with a bluish gray or brownish gray thallus which lacks the marginal lobes. S. testudinea is a “common feature of arctic and alpine rocks” (Brodo, 2001, p.660), occurring all the way south to New Mexico. Its thallus is meant to be copper colored, but Timdal’s photo shows a gray thallus on at least one example.

Einar Timdal’s photos of Sporastatia testudinea: Timdal 01, Timdal 02
Einar Timdal’s photos of Sporastatia polyspora: Timdal 03, Timdal 04

Sporastatia testudinea on CNALH

Species Lists


Proposed Names

-28% (1)
Recognized by sight
28% (1)
Used references: Photos by Leif & Anita Stridvall and Einar Timdal
57% (1)
Used references: Brodo et al., 2001, p.660; NA Lichen Checklist; photos by Timdal and the Stridvall’s

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= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Great work!
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-01-17 09:37:24 HST (-1000)

Always wanted to know what this thing was supposed to look like.

yes, this one deserves a name! :)
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-01-16 08:50:10 HST (-1000)
a beauty!
By: Chris Parrish (kitparrish)
2012-01-15 20:13:09 HST (-1000)

These saxicolous lichens of Ptarmigan Cirque are so striking, and the setting there on the crest of the Canadian Rockies is spectacular. The geology is quite special as well : the light-colored rocks carry numerous marine fossils. Now I need to spend some quality time with Brodo to become more familiar with these crustose lichens.

Any ideas?
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2012-01-15 19:20:26 HST (-1000)