Lichina pygmaea (Lightf.) C. Ag.
Thallus forming loose tufts, blackish, resembling to small mosses or seaweeds, in fissures or surfaces of rocks around or just below mean tide level. Colonises rocks and forms dense conspicuous tufts/cushions, to 1-2 cm tall and 10-30 cm across. These cushions are composed of cartilaginous branches, ramified, ends more or less flattened, dark brown-black when moist brown black when dry, brown-orange if under decomposition, apices bearing spherical apothecia. Apothecia globose, 1-2 mm diam., disc poriform. Ascospores simple, oblong to broadly ovoid, 22-29 x 11-16 µm according to literature, 22-30 x 12-16 according to our measures. Photobiont: cyanobacteria, Calothrix or Dichothrix but also green algae. When scratched this species produces a slight chemical or pharmaceutical smell. Common, in very moist areas or in rock fissures in the barnacle (Balanus sp.), the crustose red algae Hildenbrandi prototypus and Verrucaria (Wahlenbergia) striatula zone. Lichina pygmaea and Lichina confinis often are simultaneously present in the same zone and the simplest method to distinguish them in the absence of magnifying lens to analyze their branches, is to precisely locate them in relation to the mean tide level. Lichina confinis is distributed higher on the foreshore usually with Caloplaca marina or Hydropunctaria (Verrucaria) maura whereas Lichina pygmaea, is lower, together with barnacles (Balanus sp.). These two lichens, to the contrary of seaweeds cannot tolerate continuous complete immersion and require exposure to air a few hours a day. May be confused with the red algae Catenella opuntia of which the consistency is soft and branches 'pearl necklace-like'.