Thursday, 30 July 2015

Lichen Identifications

After spending a lot of the day examining lichens under the microscope I've discoverd a few that are new to me. Also below is a new one found yesterday on the southern slopes of Brean Down Toninia sedifolia with it's distinctive grey squamulose thallus and black contorted lecideine apothecia. Final lichen is one found at Cross Plain on a Hawthorn twig, Arthopyrenia analepta.

Toninia sedifolia
Arthopyrenia analepta

Brean Down 29th July

I've hardly been to Brean Down this year so thought it would be a nice change to have a look round and see what I could find. As it turned out there were a few discoveries of things new to me including: Weissia brachycarpa, Dermatocarpon miniatum, Ochesella villosa, Cryptocephalus fulvus and Squamapion atomarium.
I started off by examining the wall next to where I parked and found Bilimbia sabuletorum plus two bryophytes that looked like Ulota crispa and a Tortula sp. At the bottom of the steps I ran into Bugloss for the first time this year. This plant stood out with it's large prickly leaves and small blue solitary flowers. Half way up the steps I strayed on to the grass and instantly started to find some interesting things. Here I found the Weissia brachycarpa growing on soil on an overhang. The leaves were 1mm long and the old capsules still present which helped with the identification. I also found three Cryptocephalus fulvus in this area, a very striking beetle but very small so crawling round on hands and knees recommended. The crescent shaped gemmae cups weren't visible so perhaps not a feature to be looked for all year round.
Eventually I reached the top and made my way westwards but only managed a short distance before finding a new lichen, Dermatocarpon miniatum. This is a distinctive brown foliose lichen with lots of brown dots which I presume are the 0.3mm perithecia.
I also found here Black Meddick which intially gave me trouble identifying as I thought it was Clover to start with but the leaves end in a small point.

Black Meddick

Cryptocephalus fulvus
Weissia brachycarpa

Dermatocarpon miniatum

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Lawrence Weston Moor and Blaise Castle

These two locations were visited on 14th July as they were both close to each other. First stop was Lawrence Weston Moor. It took some time to find some lichen but eventually added some 25 species to the list. First of interest was Melanelixia subaurifera. This species is similar to Melanelixia fuliginosa which needs examination of the isidia to tell them apart.
On the same tree was also saw a Parmelia. This group can be told by having white lines on the upper surface cracks of the thallus. On this occasion the Parmelia turned out to be sulcata.
Next was a lichen that looked at first glance like a Ramalina but examing the underside we could see it was a different colour looking more white which made it Evernia prunastri.
Just before leaving we met up with Mark Kitchen who had some plant specimens. I noticed a beetle on the Rumex which I later identified as Perapion curtirostre. Having the host plant was a useful ID feature in this case.
Later we went to Blaise Castle and walked parallel to a stream picking up some interesting lichens. Some are still to be determined but others could be named on site such as Pertusaria albescens which had a very distinctive prothallus. Caloplaca cerina was a nice find on the top side of a gate.

Caloplaca cerina

Pertusaria albescens

Punctelia jeckeri showing the pruinose lobes

Melanelixia subaurifera

Xanthoria elegans