For Seirophora genus, see the Seirophora villosa taxonomic notes section.
Seirophora lacunosa thallus is fruticose, forming cushions with characteristic smooth irregularly divided, rigid, greyish laciniae, 2-5 cm high and 2-15 mm broad and about 2-(4-5) cm long. Laciniae upper surface quite smooth, slightly tomentose covered with thick multiseriated hairs, showing scattered elongated holes which cross over to the lower surface. Lower surface can be wrinkled and canaliculated particularly on older laciniae. Sometimes fertile with deep concave orange apothecia up to 6 mm across with a greyish tomentose, persistent thalline margin.
Seirophora lacunosa is susceptible for being Mediterranean and Central Asian endemic having scattered distribution on disjunctive semi-desert or desert gypsum and salty soils inland steppes (EU priority Habitat *1520, *1510), and for having a) likely small population size, b) poor connectivity among populations, c) habitat destruction for several reasons e. g. trampling, overgrazing, changes in microclimate conditions. As Del Prado & Sancho (2007) report the effect of dew or rain is a key factor for distribution patterns and physiological activity in this species. It is a candidate model for this kind of habitats along with other species growing exclusively in gypsum ie. Acarospora placodiiformis. Also this large, fruticose and errant lichen permits studies on water vapour uptake and desiccation related with structural and functional processes (Sheidegger, 1994, 1995) and studies on heavy metals (Garty, 1985) in semi-desert and desert areas (Negev desert) limit to life development. Included as endangered in the Red List of Iran (Sohrabi & Ghobad-Nejhad, 2010).
Scattered distribution in central and southeast Spain in Alicante, Almeria, Zaragoza (Llimona, 1974, Mota & al., 2011); Iran (Montes Kopetdag, Sohrabi & Ghobad-Nejhad, 2010); Israel (Galún, 1970, Pontic territory); Egypt (Monte Gebel Gharebun, Sinai); Saudi Arabia (Wasser & Nevo, 2005); Russian federation (Astrakan on the shores of the Volga) southern Ukraine (Oxner, A.N., 1993, Kondratyuk et al., 1998, Kondratyuk & Kudratov, 2003) Kyrgyzstan, (Tien-Shan, Alai Transalai Mountains, Litterski, 2002), and Mongolia (Golubkova, 1981).
Growing on gypsum soils and salt marshes in steppe and desert areas epiphytic at the basis of small shrubby bushes (Zygophyllum Sarcocornia fruticosa, Halocnemun strobilaceum), terricolous forming cushions, or attached, covering the surrounding soil surface abundantly, sometimes can be separated and carried by the wind vagrant. The thallus color changes depending on the soil, being grey on gypsum but orange grey on clay salty soils. In Spain grows together with other species also associated to gypsum soils as: Acarospora placodiiformis, Psora saviczii, Buellia zoharii.
Habitat destruction for several reasons e. g. eutrophication caused by human activities trampling, overgrazing, and changes in microclimate conditions. As Del Prado & Sancho (2007) report the Tabernas desert (Almería, Spain) S. lacunosa in its natural habitat only became photosynthetically active after rehydration with liquid water. Sites exposed to higher temperatures and light intensity levels without liquid water do not allow the survival of this species. The effect of dew or rain is a key factor for distribution patterns and physiological activity in S. lacunosa.
Del Prado, R. and L.G. Sancho (2007) Dew as a key factor for the distribution pattern of the lichen species Teloschistes lacunosus in the Tabernas Desert (Spain). - Flora 202: 718-428.
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Garty, J. (1985) The amounts of heavy metals in some lichens of the Negev Desert. - Environmental Pollution, Series B 10: 287-300.
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Litterski, B (2002) Vagrant lichens in Kyrgyzstan. - In: Llimona, X/Lumbsch, HT/Ott, S (eds.): Progress and Problems in Lichenology at the Turn of the Millenium. Bibliotheca Lichenologica, J. Cramer, Berlin, Stuttgart, pp. 77-82.
Llimona, X. (1974) Las Communidades de Liquenes de los Yesos de España. - Universidad de Barcelona, Secretariado de Publicationes, Barcelona. 18 pp.
Mota, J.F., Sánchez-Gómez, P & Guirado, J.S. (2011). Los líquenes de los afloramientos de yesos de la Península Ibérica. En: Mota, J.F., Sánchez, P & Guirado, J.S. (eds.) Diversidad vegetal de las yeseras Ibéricas. El reto de los archipiélagos edáficos para la biología de la conservación: 549-569. ADIF-Mediterráneo Asesores Consultores. Almería
Oxner, A.N. (1993) Flora of the Lichens of Ukraine, Vol. 2. - Naukova Dumka, Kiev. 541 pp.
Scheidegger, C. (1994) Low-temperature scanning electron microscopy: the localization of free and perturbed water and its role in the morphology of the lichen symbionts. - Cryptogamic Botany 4: 290-299.
Scheidegger, C.; Schroeter, B. & Frey, B. (1995) Structural and functional processes during water vapour uptake and desiccation in selected lichens with green algal photobionts. - Planta 197(2): 399-409.
Sohrabi, M. & Ghobad-Nejhad, (2010) Myco-Lich website http://www.myco-lich.com
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