Project 366 – Post No. 193 – Dog lichen

What is Project 366? Read more here!

I ook this picture along the Whitemud Ravine trail a few weeks back but it did not post it as identifying this organisms was a real head scratched. I erroneously assumed that it was a form of fungi as it had quite fleshly lobe-like leafs, not unlike some oyster mushrooms. This assumption is what made me hit a dead end when it came to identification. I stumbled across the picture by chance tonight and decided to take another stab at it. By now I had run out of “mushroom options” so I decided to broaden the set of possibilities. The only possibility, other than a fungus, would be a lichen. Loo and behold, it turned out to be a dog lichen. There are about 91 species of dog lichens world wide, all belonging to the genus Peltigera. These lichen are able to fix nitrogen directly from the atmosphere due to their coexistence with cyanobacteria. The fleshly leaf-like appendages are called foliose thalli. I have not been able to find out why they are referred to as dog lichens.

May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling.com). Copyright Mario Pineda.