The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Winter Treasure Hunt (Part 3: the fungus amungus!)

(Continued from Part 2: stories in the snow)

I had brought my clip-on macro lens to the lonely road, not really expecting to find any subjects to try it out on, but then I spotted these:


Admittedly, these are not fungi in the true sense; lichens are a composite of a fungus and a photosynthetic partner, like green algae or cyanobacteria.  The partner – capable of harnessing food energy from the sun – feeds the fungus, which is unable to make its own food.  These symbiotic life forms are stunning, especially when viewed close up. 

The lovely dark-centered “cups” are called apothecia; these are reproductive structures, cradling spore-producing hymenium. 

This pinkish-hued foliose (leafy-shaped) lichen’s apothecia look like little pimento-stuffed green olives *hee*.

Another foliose lichen, this time grey.  Foliose lichen are usually only attached to their substate at one central point.   Lichen grow slowly…some as slowly as 0.5mm/year.     They are extremely tolerant to periods of drought, intense cold and heat, and can grow on almost any type of substrate, whether natural or human-made. 

A different type of fruiting body: a podetium.  These grow on little stalks that raise the spores above the surface of the lichen. 

Now, just one more shot of those lovely little cups:

Final instalment of the Winter Treasure Hunt- Part 4: Beetles?????  coming soon!

10 responses to “Winter Treasure Hunt (Part 3: the fungus amungus!)

  1. Pingback: Winter Treasure Hunt (Part 2: stories in the snow) « FallToClimb

  2. Rachel February 4, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    PRRREEETTTY! I’m flying to Canada to steal your macro lens. I WANT ONE!!!

  3. Ted C. MacRae February 4, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    I’m lichen these photos 🙂

    Can’t wait to see what beetles you came up with.

  4. Pingback: Winter Treasure Hunt (Part 4: beetles?????) « FallToClimb

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