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Liken' Lichen

Photos by Mark Renz

Cryptothecia rubrocincta is a species of lichen in the Arthoniaceae family of fungi.

According to WikiPedia: The species is distributed in subtropical and tropical locations throughout the southeastern United States, as well as Central and South America, and has been collected infrequently in a few locales in Africa. The body of the lichen forms continuous, circular crust-like patches on dead wood, readily recognizable by the prominent red pigment. The older, central region is covered with red, spherical to cylindrical granules. Moving outwards from the center, zones of color may be distinguished, the first gray-green, the second white, and finally a bright red cottony rim. The red and green colors of this unmistakable woodland lichen give the appearance of a Christmas wreath, suggestive of its common North American name, the Christmas wreath lichen. The red pigment, called chiodectonic acid, is one of several chemicals the lichen produces to help tolerate inhospitable growing conditions.

Location: Six Mile Cypress Slough, Fort Myers (tree)
Corkscrew Swamp, Fort Myers (wooden fence)

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