“Soil Paint Lichen”: {A. schleicheri}


Acarospora schleicheri (aka “Soil Paint Lichen”)

Description: Thallus pale to bright sulpher yellow, sometimes pruinose, squamulose-areolate, often lobed at the margins, with large red-brown, sometimes scabrose apothecia embedded in areoles; hundreds of spores per ascus.

Chemistry: Negative to all reagents but UV+ orange (no lichen substances other than a yellow pigment, rhizocarpic acid, in the cortex).

Substrate: On stabilized soil in the open.

Range: Throughout the more arid parts of the western interior from Mexico to southern British Columbia & Saskatchewan. See distribution under A. contigua.

Lookalikes: This is the only common yellow Acarospora on soil.  Because it is extremely variable in thallus development, color, amount of pruinosity, & color of the apothecia, many varieties have been given names. Some lichenologists include saxicolous populations, such as A. contigua, within A. schleicheri.  Acarospora stapfiana, a yellow species made chalky white by a heavy pruina, has an areolate thallus with sunken brown apothecia; it parasitizes Caloplaca trachyphylla.  Fulgensia species also produce yellow thalli on arid soil, but they can be identified, even when sterile, by their K+ deep purple reaction.

Bibliography: Lichens of North America, by Brodo, Sharnoff, & Sharnoff

Database Entry:  Distance Everheart 12-26-13

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