Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lichen on legs!

I should begin with explaining what a lichen is. A good lichenologist friend of mine described it as: "a fungus that has discovered agriculture".  It is a mutualistic relationship between a fungus and an alga (single-celled photosynthetic organism). The fungus provides a habitat for the algae, and the algae provides food for the fungus).


 They normally grow on rocks (and are among the first to colonize after deglaciation):

or on trees:

or on the ground:

They grow extremely slowly and don't have active mobility, so you can understand my surprise, when I saw a patch of lichen running around very quickly.

Through the magic of google search, I found out it is an insect in the family Chrysopidae (Green lacewings). When the nymphs grow up, they turn into something like this: