One lichen is actually 126 species and counting

Well-known tropical fungal partnership could be several hundred different kinds

By Susan Milius, 17:04 PM June 30, 2014

A kind of lichen that biologists thought they knew well has turned out to consist of at least 126 distinct species — and maybe more than 400 — lumped under a single name.

Dictyonema glabratum isn’t some obscure, tiny organism, says Manuela Dal-Forno of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. The South American lichen species often grows in curly masses about the size of a fist. It can vary in color as well as in other traits, but other single species vary naturally, so biologists didn’t suspec...

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