Can-of-worms Lichen

(Stictis urceolatum)

Conservation Status
Can-of-worms Lichen
Photo by Luciearl
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Can-of-worms Lichen occurs in eastern North America from Nova Scotia to New Jersey, west to Minnesota and Arkansas, and south along the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina. It grows in very close contact with the substrate (crusticose) on the bark of sugar maple trees.

Can-of-worms Lichen appears as an irregular white patch with diffuse pale edges sprinkled with tiny, black dots. The vegetative portion is white, thick, rough, and cracked.

Disk-like, spore-producing structures (apothecia) are produced. The apothecia are more or less disk-shaped and tiny, often no more than 132 (1 mm) in diameter. The upper, spore-bearing surface is black. The edges are raised, rounded, and the same color as the thallus.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Whitewash Lichen (Phlyctis argena) looks similar but apothecia are extremely rare.

 
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

sugar maple

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

 

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 24, 29, 30, 77, 81.

 
  12/10/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Ascomycota (sac fungi)  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Pezizomycotina  
  Class Lecanoromycetes (lichens)  
  Subclass Ostropomycetidae  
 

Order

Ostropales  
 

Family

Stictidaceae  
 

Genus

Stictis  
  Mycobiont Stictis urceolatum  
  Photobiont    
       
 

Stictis urceolatum and Conotrema urceolatum were previously thought to be two separate species, the fungus Stictis urceolatum and the lichen Conotrema urceolatum. An analysis published in 1969 showed that the latter is the lichenized form of the former, but the lichen was not renamed. A more recently published DNA study (Wedin, Mats & DÖRING , Heidi  & KÖNBERG , Kristina  & GILENSTAM , Gunnar . [2005]) confirmed this. The genus name Stictis was used earlier, giving it priority, and the lichen was finally renamed.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Bacidia urceolata

Conotrema urceolatum

Lecidea urceolata

Stictis urceolata

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Can-of-worms Lichen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Apothecium

An open, disk-shaped or cup-shaped, reproductive structure, with spore sacs on the upper surface, that produces spores for the fungal partner of a lichen. Plural: apothecia.

 

Crusticose

Crusty; referring to lichens in such close contact with the rock surface (substrate) that it appears sprayed on like paint.

 

Thallus

In lichens: The vegetative body of a lichen composed of both the alga and the fungus. In liverworts: a flat, relatively undifferentiated plant body. Plural: thalli.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Optional Lichenization

A recent study (Wedin et al., 2004) showed three Stictis species to be the first known cases of optional lichenization. Individuals of the same species can develop either as a lichen or as a saprotroph, depending on the substrate. This is thought to be an evolutionary adaptation to successional habitats, where conditions are unpredictable.

 
 
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Luciearl

 
    Can-of-worms Lichen   Can-of-worms Lichen  
           
 
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  Luciearl
11/10/2021

Location: Fairview Twp, Cass County

Can-of-worms Lichen

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
 

 

 

 

 

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Created: 12/10/2021

Last Updated:

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