Niebla dilatata

The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
April 2003, Oct. 2005, Sep 2012
Additions May 2017, updated Dec 2021

Niebla and Vermilacinia (Ramalinaceae) from California and Baja California.  
Spjut, R.W., 1996. ISSN 0833-1475, 208 pp.  
Sida, Botanical Miscellany 14. Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Inc.

Evolutionary history of coastal species of fog lichen genera
, Ramalina and Vermilacinia
Emmanuel Sérusiaux & Richard  Spjut
Baja California, Jan-Feb 2016

Spjut R, Simon A, Guissard M, Magain N, Sérusiaux E. 2020. The fruticose genera in the Ramalinaceae (Ascomycota, Lecanoromycetes): their diversity and evolutionary history.  MycoKeys. 73: 1–68. published online.
MycoKeys. 2020;73:1-68. Published 2020 Sep 11. doi:10.3897/mycokeys.73.47287

Evolution and diversification of Niebla
Steve Leavitt et al., Baja California, Dec 2016
Manuscript presented 2021 on Authorea. April 05, 2021.

Jorna J, J Linde, P Searle, A Jackson, M-E Nielsen, M Nate, N Saxton, F Grewe, M de los Angeles Herrera-Campos, R Spjut, H Wu, B Ho, S Leavitt, T Lumbsch.  Species boundaries in the messy middle -- testing the hypothesis of micro-endemism in a recently diverged lineage of coastal fog desert lichen fungi. Ecology and Evolution. Published Online: 20 Dec 2021.


E of Bahia de Asunción, near the coast, N 27°09.218, W 114°11.507,
12 m, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17144, Jan 2016

W of Bahía de Tortugas, towards Punta Eugenia, N 27°49.701, W 115°03.454 35-40 m, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17170, Jan 2016

West of Villa Jesus Maria, along shoreline, north of Punta Morro Santo Domingo, 70 m, Leavitt et al. 16-946  & 16-947, Dec 2016.

W of Bahía de Tortugas, towards Punta Eugenia, N 27°49.701, W 115°03.454 35-40 m, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17166, Jan 2016

West of Villa Jesus Maria, along shoreline, north of Punta Morro Santo Domingo, 70 m, Leavitt et al. 16-911, Dec 2016


~ 2 km W of Punta Santa Rosalillita, south side of road; 28°40.572, 114°13.736, 35 m. Spjut & Sérusiaux 17311, Feb 2016


undulata-11336.jpg (116623 bytes)

Inland ~ 2 mi from Punta Canoas,
Spjut & Marin 11336, Apr 1990


Near Puerto Catarina,
Spjut & Marin 13046


dilatata_11512.jpg (146074 bytes)contorta-11512.jpg (95992 bytes)


Punta Cono, Spjut &
Marin 11512
, Apr 1990


Isla Guadalupe, Weber &
McCoy 82, isotype

Near Puerto Catarina,
Spjut & Marin 13053


Near Puerto Catarina,
Spjut & Marin 13050


           Niebla dilatata was first reported endemic to Isla Guadalupe (Spjut 1996); however, specimens from peninsular Baja California previously included under N. caespitosa (Plate 3D and Plate 3E in Spjut 1996), have since been interpreted to belong to N. dilatata (Spjut, this [WBA] website, 2005).  Niebla dilatata was distinguished by its cortex of intermediate thickness, 75–120 µm thick, compared to < 75 µm thick in N. caespitosa and related species in Baja California, and >125 µm thick in other species on Isla Guadalupe and in California (Spjut 1996).  Subsequently it was recognized that the thicker cortex of N. dilatata is associated with a smooth surface appearance between the cortical ridges in contrast to the thinner cortex of N. caespitosa, evident by the reticulated surface often cracking, and by the more jagged appearance of lobes often pointed to apex.  Niebla dilatata further differs in producing abundant apothecia along the margins as well as pycnidia in contrast to  N. caespitosa that usually lacks apothecia, although pycnidia are commonly seen.   

     As with other phenotypic species of NieblaN. dilatata—as interpreted hereincludes cryptic species; for example, Leavitt et al. 16-946 and 16-947 collected from Morro Santo Domingo are in different species groups whereas other specimens from the same locality are in the same clade as noted in Jorna et al. (2021).  In contrast, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17144, from near Bahía de Asunción in Baja California Sur is not only geographical separated from that of Spjut & Sérusiaux 17311, found on small stones near Punta Santa Rosalilllita in Baja California, but also ecologically differs in growing on decomposed lava.   DNA phylogeny reveals that it is not sufficiently distinct from saxicolous from N. contorta that grows on calcareous rocks with embedded sea shells collected within 10 km from N. dilatata.   Essentially specimens identified N. dilatata by phenotypical characters have different DNA to justify different species whereas in other cases, N. dilatata that is phenotypically different from N. contorta is not clearly differentiated by DNA.

     Specimens in the sekikaic acid clade that show similar morphology with a terricolous habit are referred to  Niebla aff. palmeri or N. welwitschioides Spjut & Sérus. ineditus, while also  unresolved from a phylogenetic perspective.

For more discussion and reference materials see Introduction to Niebla