<< Previous Next >>

Golden Eye Lichen

Golden Eye Lichen
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Fungi
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-10-17
Categories: Lichens
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 125
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/40 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Nature's Oddities [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2013-06-29 22:51
Viewed: 4198
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Golden Eye Lichen / Teloschistes chrysophthalmus

I captured this Golden Eye Lichen in the West Coast National Park during our October 2012 holiday. Both Loot and I was fascinated by the shape and rich orange colour of this beautiful lichen we saw growing on shrubs in the park.

I must admit it was quite difficult to identify this subject and once I found the identification I realised that information on this species is even more difficult to find. I therefore decided to share with you some rather interesting facts about lichens in the general.

This is my 1st posting of lichen and I really hope all the members that look at this image find a liking to it. If my facts are correct this is a 1st for Trek Nature.

The word lichens is derived from the Greek word meaning "wart" or "eruption". Lichens occur nearly everywhere, from the poles to the equator. 13500 lichen species occur worldwide of which more than 1200 species are found in South Africa.

Lichens do not have stems, roots or leaves. The part that you can see growing on rocks and trees is called the thallus (pluaral thalli).

1. Upper cortex: Under magnification, a section through a typical foliose lichen thallus reveals four layers of interlaced fungal filaments. The uppermost layer is formed by densely agglutinated fungal hyphae building a protective outer layer called the cortex, which can become very thick. Beneath the upper cortex is an algal layer composed of algal cells embedded in rather densely interwoven fungal hyphae.

2. Algae layer: This part makes up 5% of the plant. It provides food for the thallus (i.e. photosynthesises) and is light loving.

3. Fungal Hyphae: The fungal part provides moisture and shelter; it is therefore the dominant partner. The thallus consists of 95% fungi.

4. Medulla: Beneath this algal layer is a third layer of loosely interwoven fungal hyphae without algal cells. This layer is called the medulla.

5. Lower cortex: Beneath the medulla, the bottom surface resembles the upper surface and is called the lower cortex, again consisting of densely packed fungal hyphae. The lower cortex often bears root like fungal structures known as rhizines, which serve to attach the thallus to the substrate on which it grows.

Lichens are informally classified by growth form into:-
Endolithic Growing inside substrates. They are usually so well camouflaged that they cannot be seen. The rock is used to filter sunlight as strong sunlight can kill algae cells, which will lead to the death of the lichen. Endolithic lichens eventually break down the rock they live in. Look carefully at rocks that have been weathered for signs of lichen.

Epilithic Growing on substrate surfaces. These surfaces can be as diverse as insects, rocks, leaves, bark, soil, under water and manmade substrates like glass. They are visible to the naked eye.

Epilithic growth forms can be:-
Crustose or "crusty" paint-like and flat, are most commonly seen. See the brightly coloured crusty coverings on the rocks around you. They are tightly attached to the surfaces on which they grow. They grow very slowly, at a rate of about 0.4 to 3mm per year. Despite being hardy, they can be destroyed if trampled on. It can take up to 100 years to re-grow.

Foliose Leaf like, attach themselves loosely to their substrates and can be seen on some of the trees and rocks around you. They grow faster than crustose lichens, at rates of up to 25mm per year. Various insect larvae spiders and mites use the foliose lichens for food, shelter camouflage and to lay their eggs under. Birds including the Paradise Flycatcher use leafy lichens to camouflage their nests.

Fruiticose Bushy or shrubby, e.g. Usnea or "old man's beard". The strap shaped or hair-like lichens vary from minute 3cm long species to the much larger 5m Usnea species which is often seen hanging from trees around the escarpment. Fruticose lichens are the fastest growing of all lichens species with growth rates of up to 150mm per year.

Other forms also exist: leprose (powdery), squamulose (consisting of small scale-like structures, lacking a lower cortex) and gelatinous (absorbs and retains water).

Lichens must compete with plants for access to sunlight, but because of their small size and slow growth, they thrive in places where higher plants have difficulty growing. A major eco-physiological advantage of lichens is that they are poikilohydric (poikilo-variable, hydric- relating to water), meaning that though they have little control over the status of their hydration, they can tolerate irregular and extended periods of severe drought. Like some mosses, liverworts and ferns, upon desiccation, lichens enter a metabolic suspension or stasis in which the cells of the lichen are dehydrated to a degree that halts most biochemical activity. In this state, lichens can survive wider extremes of temperature, radiation and drought in the harsh environments they often inhabit.

Lichens do not have roots and do not need to tap continuous reservoirs of water like most plants, thus they can grow in locations impossible for most plants, such as bare rock, sterile soil or sand, and various artificial structures such as walls, roofs and monuments. Lichens are active when wet and inactive when dry. This means that in South Arica, certain lichens may not function for years, although they are still alive. Many lichens also grow as epiphytes (epi- on the surface, phyte- plant) on other plants, particularly on the trunks and branches of trees. When growing on other plants, lichens are not parasites; they do not consume any part of the plant nor poison it like some ground-dwelling lichens. Stability of their substrate is a major factor of lichen habitats. Most lichens grow on stable rock surfaces or the bark of old trees, but many others grow on soil and sand.

Lichens, to human beings, are often tasteless or extremely bitter. Their food value, however, compares well with that of cereal crops. In 1972, a Canadian pilot, started in the Arctic, survived for 23 days by eating lichens and the dextrose he had in his emergency kit.

A delicacy in Japan is a type of foliose lichen eaten in salads or deep fried fat. The Egyptians also used lichens in baking bread to give it an unusual flavour. They relished this bread to the extent that they imported shiploads of lichens for it.

Animals that eat lichens include various bagworms, butterflies, moths, snails and slugs. Springbok in Namibia and Gazelle in the rest of Africa have been noted to feed on lichens. Reindeer and Caribou feed almost exclusively on lichens during the winter months. Sheep in Libya today still graze on foliose lichen, Lecanora esculenta. This lichen occurs in the deserts of the Middle East and is suspected to be the manna used by the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

ramthakur, Ingrid1, Hotelcalifornia, PeterZ, ellis49, CeltickRanger, senn, cobra112, anel, Alex99 has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To kinglove: ThanksMiss_Piggy 1 06-30 08:31
To ellis49: ThanksMiss_Piggy 1 06-30 08:28
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Never seen such colourful lichen ever before, Anna.
You have selected the most appealing segment of it and captured it with sharp eye for composition and details.
It is the colours of this species that create a magic in this picture.

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2013-06-29 23:47]

Shalom Anna,

Very beautiful and unusual species. Great capture! The colors are, indeed, amazing.

Have a lovely Sunday,


My dear friend
I like the warm colors, and your information ( notes) are outstanding!

Thanks for sharing your special work, and I add it to my theme "Nature's Oddities"

The reason for calling them oddities, I fist encountered them in Antarctica, where they were a slight green grey Sheen on some rock. That was all. But the resident biologist on the Russian ship did virtually head over heels in his excitement about this occurrence . The first in Antarctica.

But yours are colorful, and the little orange tufts interesting.

Enjoy your Sunday and thanks for some color on a grey day


Hello Anna,
Beautiful picture of this 'Golden Eye Lichen'.I haven't seen before.Even din't know much about it.Thanks for your valuable note.

Nice eye-catching warm color with stunning sharpness.I like its POV and green BG which is helping a lot to concentrate on the subject.

Thanks for your great contribution here in TN,
Kind regards,

wow!!!!! amazing lychen, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-06-30 0:59]

Hello Anna,
Very beautiful photo of this lichen in breathtaken colours. Not only the lichen itself, but the blue branches even so. The contrasts are splendid. Excellent sharpness and a perfect composition.

Hello Anna
很漂亮的花 照的清晰 真是富麗堂皇
構圖美麗 背景也很棒 謝謝分享

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2013-06-30 2:28]

Hello Anna.
Excellent macro shot of this Golden Eye Lichen . Not easy to have this sharpness. The composition is excellent! Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-06-30 3:02]

Waaw Anna! What a interesting specie,i never seen before lichens like these,your pic is absolutely fantastic,the quality of details is great,the colors are very bright,the pic of the day on TN,no doubts! Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2013-06-30 4:50]

Hello Anne,
What a colours. It can see from long distance. In my country lichens have modest colours but also interesting.
Regards, pawel

hallo Anna
super to see this beautiful lichen
great composition and good sharpness
never seen this specie before
thanks Anna
greeting lou

Hello Anna
An amazing species and an excellent photo.
Excellent detail, lovely colours.
Nice against the darker background
regards yiannis

completely a new lichen for me.
fantastic capture with great clarity, colour and composition.
Thank you Anna for this superb picture.
best wishes,

Hallo Anna,
this is an amazing picture, the colours are fantastic. never seen lichens like this.
Great sharpness with tones of details.
This is PPP IMHO.


Hello Anna,
Really never seen this kind of beautiful flower.
What a great color and details.
Nice composition and point of view.
Love this pic.
Thanks for sharing.


Hi Anna,
So nice and amzing work.
I love this color.

Best wishes

Hello Anna

The light of the photo and specially the warm
color tones of this species of lichen are very beautiful,
with excellent focus, great sharpness, and details, TFS


  • Great 
  • senn Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 2 N: 155] (1384)
  • [2013-07-02 0:38]

Hi Anna
pure splendour here, .., you coped with to render this seemingly tricky subject with due detail and sharpness, .. colours and motifs are fascinating, .. "eruption" fits perfectly its look indeed, ..good work mate

regards, nuri :)

Just fantastic Anna! Magnificent colours Amazing light stunning details. Great compo.


Very interesting subject Anna! Great photo too, Very good composition, fantastic colours and impressive sharpness.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2013-07-08 11:52]

Hello Anna,
Very interesting posting again. And how special this Golden Eye Lichen looks with the beautiful red heart and the yellow beams around it, just a lot of little suns.
I also like lichens a lot and have quite some pictures in my archives, but of course not this one.
Fine natural shot for which I thank a lot.
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2013-07-09 4:48]

Hi Anna.
It is clear that I have not seen this amazing plant. Its shapes and colours are reflected fantastically. Every tiny detail is shown with terrific exactness. I also like wonderful natural busy but watched easily surroundings. TFS and warm regards.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-07-12 19:02]

Hello Anna, Congratulations of a first post for TN.
I have to admit I have never seen lichens as colorful as this specimen. It looks like a type of coral from under the sea. Awesome detail and perfectly exposed.

Hello Anna
This plant is surprising by its shape and colors! She is gorgeous!
Thank you to show us.
And your picture is really much more beautiful than what you see on the Wikipedia page in French!
Best regards

Hi Anna,
Never seen before.


Calibration Check