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Chaenothecopsis oregana Rikkinen

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Scientific name
Chaenothecopsis oregana
Common names
Resin Whiskers
IUCN Specialist Group
Assessment status
Assessment date
IUCN Red List Category
IUCN Red List Criteria
Paquette, H. & Chandler, A.
McMullin, T.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/175708981/175710652


Globally, there are estimated to be c.500 mature individuals of Chaenothecopsis oregana (extrapolating from 38 recorded collections at 12 locations). It occurs in old coniferous forest stands, which are limited and fragmented. Due to its reliance on mature coniferous forests, it is potentially at risk of ongoing decline due to the continued decline and fragmentation of mature coniferous forests occurring globally (Potapov et al. 2008). Lichens and allied fungi are slow growing and for this reason loss and fragmentation of habitat, especially for the proposed species, directly influences the resilience of the existing populations and can result in irreversible declines. This species is currently assessed as Vulnerable, given its small population size, but could potentially be uplisted in future.

Taxonomic notes

This species was questioned by Tuovila et al. (2011) due to the type specimen being a mixed collection. They elected to discard the original epithet (oregana) and instead described two new species from the holotype material (Chaenothecopsis diabolica and C. zebrina). Later, it was found that this was nomenclaturally inaccurate, and Tuovila et al. (2012) reinstated C. oregana, with C. zebrina as a synonym. C. diabolica remains a distinct species (Tuovila et al. 2012).

Geographic range

Chaenothecopsis oregana is common in the North American Pacific north-west (Oregon and Washington states; Rikkinen 2003a). It was recently reported from western (Alberta; Haughland et al. 2016), central (Ontario; McMullin et al. unpublished data) and eastern (Quebec; Paquette et al. 2019) provinces of Canada, and is known in Europe from single collections in Spain, Sweden and Switzerland (Tuovila et al. 2011). In Switzerland, the exact coordinates could not be confirmed as they indicate a location in France in the publication that identifies this occurrence.

Population and Trends

Globally, there are 38 known occurrences at 12 locations (Rikkinen 2003b, Gröner 2010, Haughland et al. 2016, Paquette et al. 2019, CNALH 2020). This species is known from throughout Europe and North America, but it is rarely collected. For example, the most recent report was the first record in eastern North America from the Acadian Forest Ecoregion (Paquette et al. 2019) despite focused, long-term studies in the area (Selva 2003, 2010, 2013, 2014). Incorporating potential additional sites (up to 50 potential sites), and with the potential for there to be c.10 mature individuals per site, the total population size is estimated at 500 mature individuals. There is a suspected decline in the overall population size due to widespread threats throughout its range, including logging, forest fires, mining, and development (Potapov et al. 2008).

Population Trend: decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Chaenothecopsis oregana grows on the exudate (resin) of old Abies, Picea, and Tsuga species (Rikkinen 2003b). Old-growth coniferous forests, this species' obligate habitat, are at risk of decline due to forest fire, industrial activities, and other human-driven disturbances (Potapov et al. 2008, Bradshaw et al. 2009).


The primary threat to this species is the decline of old-growth, coniferous forests due to numerous forces including logging, urban development, and land clearing for industrial development. Logging removes the species' obligate microhabitat (i.e. old, Abies, Picea and Tsuga with exposed, aging resin), which has a very long recovery period. Additionally, specimen collecting may be a threat to this species.

Conservation Actions

The most important conservation action needed for Chaenothecopsis oregana is protection of mature coniferous forests to preserve its habitat. Additional required conservation actions include research and monitoring of populations, raising awareness of its presence with local land managers, and assigning the species legal protected status in the countries where it occurs.

Use and Trade

Specimen collecting may be a threat to this species.

Source and Citation

Paquette, H. & Chandler, A. 2020. Chaenothecopsis oregana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T175708981A175710652. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T175708981A175710652.en .Accessed on 31 January 2022

Country occurrence