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Description

 Life habit: lichenized; Thallus: filamentous-fruticose, sometimes beard-like, ±furcate or irregularly branched, erect or prostate, sometimes forming rosettes, attached by small holdfasts, gelatinous when wet; surface: black, blackish olive or dark brown, dull, branches ±smooth or fine granulose, with few or abundant spinule-like side branches; anatomy: ecorticate, entirely homiomerous or with a central strand of ±elongated hyphae, hyphal network running through photobiont trichomes except for the tips, paraplectenchymatous, rectangular or ±irregular; hyphae: short-celled to elongated, angular to roundish, small to large, 5-15 x 2.5-10(-15) µm; photobionts: primary one a filamentous cyanobacterium (Stigonema) with true branching pattern, secondary photobiont absent; cells: usually in 3-8 rows; Ascomata: apothecial, laminal or terminal, on tip of the filaments, orbicular, sessile to stalked, with distinctly persistent thalloid rim; disc: punctiform to finally open, pale green or brown; ontogeny: hemiangiocarpous, pycnoascocarps; ascogonia: arising beneath pycnidia; exciple: present, thin, hyaline, apically usually widened and pale green or brown, IKI-; hymenium: hyaline, IKI+ blue; subhymenium: hyaline, IKI+ blue; epihymenium: hyaline, pale green or brown, K-; elongated conidiophores: functioning as initial paraphyses; true paraphyses: sparsely branched and anastomosing, distinctly septate, terminal cells slightly clavate; asci: cylindrical to subclavate, prototunicate, thin-walled, IKI-, 8-16-spored; ascospores: simple, hyaline, ellipsoid to broadly ellipsoid, subglobose to globose, rarely bean-shaped, 5-20 x 3-7 µm, thin-walled; Conidiomata: absent or present, pycnidial, laminal, immersed, hyaline; walls: simple; conidiophores: simple, cells elongated; conidia: simple, ellipsoid or bacilliform, rarely subglobose, simple, c. 2-4.5 x 1-1.5 µm, acrogenous; Secondary metabolites: none detected; Geography: world-wide; Substrate: usually on acidic rock in seepage tracks or along rochy lake shores.; Notes: The genus Zahlbrucknerella is similar to Ephebe in external appearance, but differs in its type of filamentous photobiont (Scytonema), that has a false branching pattern and in its type of ascoma ontogeny (Henssen 1963, Henssen 1977). Polychidium is similar as well but differs in its photobiont (Nostoc or Scytonema) and in the presence of a distinct cortex. Fruticose members of the Lichinaceae such as Lichinella spp. and Peccania spp. differ in having a coccoid, cyanobacterial photobiont. Like Ephebe, Spilonema revertens has a Stigonema photobiont, but differs in the presence of a distinct hypothallus composed of a blackish blue-green hyphae and in its Lecanoralean ascus type, septate ascospores and type of pycnidium. 

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© Lichen Unlimited: Arizona State University, Tempe.

Source: Lichen Flora of the Greater Sonoran Desert Region

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