Tuesday 18 June
Ciliate strap-lichen (Heterodermia leucomela)
Ciliate strap-lichen fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Ciliate strap-lichen description
Ciliate strap-lichen has ribbon-like lobes (4) that are ivory white in colour (2), with long black projections at the edges (5). The lobes are upturned at the tips (5), and scramble over and amongst the surrounding vegetation (3). The lower surface of this lichen differs from the upper surface in that it is grooved, and has a powdery or cobweb-like centre (5). Indeed, the scientific name of this genus 'Heterodermia' means 'different skin' and refers to the contrast between the upper and lower surfaces of the lichen (5).
- Heterodermia leucomelos.
- Thallus diameter: 5-15 cm (2)
- A collection of taxonomically unrelated groups that share some common features but are grouped together for historical reasons and for convenience. They are of simple construction, and are mainly photoautotrophic, obtaining all their energy from light and carbon dioxide, and possess the photosynthetic pigment, chlorophyll A. They range in complexity from microscopic single cells to very complex plant-like forms, such as kelps. Algal groups include blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), red algae (rhodophyta), green algae (chlorophyta), brown algae and diatoms (chromista) as well as euglenophyta.
- A group of bacteria that are able to photosynthesise and contain the pigment chlorophyll. They used to be known as ‘blue-green algae’. They are thought to have been the first organisms to produce oxygen; fossil cyanobacteria have been found in 3000 million year old rocks. As they are responsible for the oxygen in the atmosphere they have played an essential role in influencing the course of evolution on this planet.
- Fungi are one of the taxonomic kingdoms, separate from plants and animals. They obtain nutrients by absorbing organic compounds from the surrounding environment.
- Metabolic process characteristic of plants in which carbon dioxide is broken down, using energy from sunlight absorbed by the green pigment chlorophyll. Organic compounds are made and oxygen is given off as a by-product.
- Symbiotic relationship
- Relationship in which two organisms form a close association, the term is now usually used only for associations that benefit both organisms (a mutualism).
- Type of simple plant body that does not have stems, leaves and roots.
- National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (May, 2002)
- Management recommendations for Heterodermia leucomelos. (May, 2002)
- UK BAP Species Action Plan (May, 2002)
- Church, J.M., Coppins, B.J., Gilbert, O.L., James, P.W. and Stewart, N.F. (1996) Red Data Book of Britain and Ireland: lichens. Volume 1: Britain. The Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough.
- Dobson, F. (2000) Lichens. An illustrated guide to the British species. The Richmond Publishing Co. Ltd., Slough.
- Duckworth, J. (2002) Pers. comm.
- Allaby, M. (1998) Oxford Dictionary of Plant Sciences. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
- Plantlife (May, 2002)
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Ciliate strap-lichen biology
Lichens consist of two different organisms, a 'mycobiont' (a fungus) and a 'phycobiont' (either an alga, which is a simple plant, or a cyanobacterium, a bacteria that can photosynthesise), which live together in a symbiotic association (7). Many lichens are known to be very sensitive to environmental pollution, and they have been used as 'indicators' of pollution (7). Ciliate strap-lichen reproduces asexually by producing microscopic structures called 'soredia'; masses of soredia look like a fine powder to the human eye, but actually consist of fungal threads (hyphae) and cells of the phycobiont (7). These structures are dispersed by the wind, by animals, or by simply falling to the ground (2), and enable a new lichen to become established.Top
Ciliate strap-lichen range
In Great Britain, the species occurs only in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly (4), the Lleyn peninsula (6) and Anglesey, which is the northernmost extreme of its European range (4). Historically it was more widespread in southern England, and occurred in Devon, Wiltshire, Dorset, and West Sussex. This lichen has a wide distribution globally, occurring in most tropical and temperate areas. In Europe it tends to be a western species, preferring oceanic conditions (4). Good populations occur in south-west Ireland, and it is also known from the Channel Islands (3).Top
Ciliate strap-lichen habitat
Inhabits exposed, sunny coastal cliff-tops, on moss-covered rocks or mossy turf (4).Top
Ciliate strap-lichen status
Classified as Endangered in Great Britain and is protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (3).Top
Ciliate strap-lichen threats
The causes of the decline of the ciliate strap-lichen in Great Britain are thought to be over-collecting, air pollution, fires, and trampling (4). Competition with scrub and coarse vegetation is also a threat (3).Top
Ciliate strap-lichen conservation
This lichen is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. The Species Action Plan aims to maintain and, where possible, enhance the known populations (3). All current populations receive a degree of protection, as they occur in Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) (6), and the species is afforded special protection by Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (3). The lead partner responsible for this species is the wild plant conservation charity Plantlife, which has included ciliate strap-lichen on its 'Back from the Brink' programme (8).Top
Find out more
For more information on this species see:
For more information on British lichens see:
Dobson, F. (2000) Lichens. An illustrated guide to the British species. The Richmond Publishing Co. Ltd., Slough.Top
Information authenticated by Plantlife, the wild plant conservation charity:
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.