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Caloplaca phlogina, a lichen with two facies; an example of infraspecific variability resulting in the description of a redundant species

British Lichen Society / Cambridge Journals
Publication Date
  • Founder Effect
  • Caloplaca Scythica
  • Disjunct Distribution
  • Phenotypic Variability
  • Species Delimitation
  • Biology And Life Sciences
  • Ecology


Caloplaca phlogina is shown here to have two kinds of soralia, yellow soralia with anthraquinones versus whitish or white-green soralia lacking pigments. Both kinds are present, growing side by side, in some localities in Scandinavia, but yellow soralia appear to be more common. In contrast, the populations from halophilous shrubs on the Black Sea coast have predominantly white soralia, and they were described as a separate species, C. scythica. A single collection from Chile also has white soralia. Molecular data and phenotype examinations convinced us that Scandinavian and Black Sea populations are conspecific. We consider the North European, phenotypically variable population as a source for the Black Sea population which is ecologically and phenotypically more uniform.

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