|Marchandiomyces aurantiacus, parasitizing an unknown Physcia lichen.|
|Xanthoriicola physciae (the black stuff) on it's host, Xanthoria parietina.|
When was the last time you actually took a close look at some lichen? It's something I hadn't done for a long time until Seth Gibson pointed out these two parasitic species at Bookham Common the other week, associating with their host lichens on a couple of tree branches.
Why bother even look at, never mind identify, something so obscure I hear you ask? Fair point- there are plenty of ways to enjoy natural history without necessarily putting a name to everything you see. However, why not take that extra step? One of the great benefits of pan-species 'observation' is that it opens one's eyes to the more under-recorded, un-loved taxon that would otherwise be completely ignored by the average enthusiast. Why limit yourself to birds or moths when there is so much more out there? Contrary to what others might say, you won't find yourself blinded by a selfish need to competitively list everything you see, but rather you'll find yourself appreciating things that others will simply walk past- you might just impress your mates in the process.