Crater lichen (Diploschistes ocellatus)

Synonyms: Diploschistes subocellatus, Lagerheimina ocellata, Lichen ocellatus, Parmelia ocellata, Urceolaria ocellata, Urceolaria subocellata
GenusDiploschistes (1)

Diploschistes ocellatus has not yet been classified by the IUCN.

Diploschistes ocellatus is a widespread lichen species that grows on calcareous rocks and soils. Its numerous thalli are powdery pale grey to white, with each thick thallus enclosing a black apothecium (a disc-like structure on the surface of the thallus used in sexual reproduction) (2). 

There are two different morphs of Diploschistes ocellatus, which differ in the structure of the thallus and apothecia and in the presence or absence of tiny pores on the surface, known as pseudocyphellae (3).

A wide-ranging species, Diploschistes ocellatus occurs from southern Europe and Africa, across Asia to Australia, New Zealand and some islands in the western Pacific Ocean (2).

Diploschistes ocellatus grows on calcareous rocks and soils (2). One morph of this species grows only on soils in arid areas of southern Spain which contain the very soft mineral gypsum (3).

Lichens are a unique group of organisms that consist of two components, a fungus (called the ‘mycobiont’) and an alga or cyanobacterium (called the ‘photobiont’) that live in a close symbiotic relationship (4) (5) (6). The fungus produces the thallus (the main lichen body) which houses the alga or the cyanobacterium, providing protection and creating optimal conditions for the photobionts to photosynthesise. This process produces sugars and other nutrients which can then be used by the fungus (6).

Although it is not known if there are any specific threats to Diploschistes ocellatus, lichens are a slow-growing association of fungi and algae or cyanobacterium, and so are extremely sensitive to contamination from air pollution. As such, lichens are often used as indicators of the amount of pollution in an ecosystem (5).

Diploschistes ocellatus has not been the target of any known conservation measures.

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. Species 2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life (August, 2009)
  2. Vasser, S.P. and Nevo, E. (2005) Lichen-forming, Lichenicolous, and Allied Fungi of Israel. A.R.G. Gantner Verlag K.G., Germany. 
  3. Martín, M.P., Winka, K., Llimona, X. and. Lumbsch H.T. (2000) Evaluation of morphological variation in the lichen Diploschistes ocellatus (Ascomycota, Ostropales): evidence from nuclear rDNA ITS sequence data. Plant Biology, 2: 571-578.
  4. Ghazanfar, S.A. and Fisher, M. (1998) Vegetation of the Arabian Peninsula. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
  5. Nash, T.H. (1996) Lichen Biology. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  6. Ahmadjian, V. (1993) The Lichen Symbiosis. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.