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Gintaras Kantvilas 2

Cystocoleus Thwaites, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., ser. 2, 3: 241 (1849).

Type: C. ebeneus (Dillwyn) Thwaites

Thallus filamentous, black, forming irregularly undelimited tufts or spreading, felt-like patches many 10s of cms across. Photobiont Trentepohlia, with cells in long chains 10–20 µm wide. Fungal hyphae rather nodulose and of uneven thickness, 1–1.5(–2) µm thick, arranged irregularly over the surface of the algal cells. Ascomata and conidiomata unknown. Chemistry: nil.

A monotypic, obligately sterile genus. It is identical morphologically to Racodium, which can be distinguished by having the fungal hyphae arranged in a ± regular, rectangular pattern over the length of the algal filaments. Superficially similar, filamentous lichen genera such as Ephebe differ by having a cyanobacterial photobiont.

Key references: Kantvilas (2002); Fletcher & Dalby (2009).

1 Cystocoleus ebeneus (Dillwyn) Thwaites

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Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., ser. 2, 3: 241 (1849); —Conferva ebenea Dillwyn, Brit. Conferv.: tab. 101 (1809).

Cystocoleus niger (Huds.) Har., J. Bot. (Morot) 4: 91 (1890); —Byssus niger Huds., Fl. Angl.: 487 (1762).

A bipolar-pantemperate species, very widespread and common in Tasmania. It is found in sheltered clefts and overhangs of outcrops and large boulders of all non-calcareous rock types, growing directly on rock or overgrowing depauperate bryophytes, species of Lepraria or skeletal soil. Athough most frequently collected at higher elevations, this lichen has a wide ecological range and may also occur in the littoral zone. The extensive, black, felt-like thallus can only be confused with that of Racodium rupestre. The characteristic wiggly pattern of the fungal hyphae on the filaments of Cystocoleus can only be observed at high power magnification.

Kingston, 42°59’S 147°18’E, sea-level, 1912, L. Rodway s.n. (HO); summit of Tim Shea, 42°43’S, 146°28’E, 950 m, 2013, G. Kantvilas 402/13 (HO); western slopes of Tanina Bluff, 42°39’S 147°02’E, 860 m, 2019, G. Kantvilas 267/19 (HO).


Fletcher A, Dalby DH (2009) Cystocoleus Thwaites (1849). In CW Smith, A Aptroot, BJ Coppins, A Fletcher, OL Gilbert, PW James, PA Wolseley (Eds), The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland, p. 369. (British Lichen Society: London).

Kantvilas G (2002) Agyrium Fr., Bryophagus Nitchke ex Arnold and Racodium Fr., lichen genera previously unrecorded for Australia. Muelleria 16 65–70.

  1. This work can be cited as: Kantvilas G (2024). Cystocoleus, version 2024:1. In MF de Salas (Ed.) Flora of Tasmania Online. 2 pp. (Tasmanian Herbarium, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery: Hobart). (accessed ).  ↩︎

  2. Tasmanian Herbarium, Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery, PO Box 5058, UTAS LPO, Sandy Bay, TAS 7005, Australia.  ↩︎