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The Seashore

Lichina species

This is a small group of marine lichens that are quite different to the usual lichens found in terrestrial environments. Lichina pygmaea

Lichina pygmaea is a tufted, brown-black lichen which grows to around 1 cm in length. The species L.confinis is much shorter, around 5 mm. This species of lichen is hair-like and upright. These fruticose lichens have a central area of loose fungal hyphae, an outer cortex of compressed fungal hyphae and an entrapped band of algae (a form of cyanobacteria) in between. Spore-bearing structures form in small swellings at the tip.

Lichina pygmaea is associated with barnacles on the upper seashore and copes with immersion in seawater. Its dense nature hides and supports a small animal community, particularly Lasaea, a tiny mollusc. L.confinis is typically in the lower splash zone amongst the orange lichens.

Caloplaca (orange lichen)

Caloplaca (orange lichen) above an area of Lichina confinis in the splash zone.

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