Giant Lichen Orb-Weaver - Mid-Coast Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist
A. Mutualism (+, +). Plant-Microbe. • Mycorrhizae. • N–fixation. • Lichen. Rhinoceros leaching, benefit to tree on hackberry (Celtis laevigata), preferred host. Spray trees to drip point with the spray directed at the moss infested limbs. Lichens are an example of a symbiotic relationship between algae and . Water oak, Spanish oak, elm and hackberry trees are frequently observed to be infested . I see no relationship btw hackberry & lichens; lichens are result of symbiotic relationship btw algae & fungi & can grow on trees.
There is a reason that birds such as nuthatches, creepers, and Black-and-white Warblers have evolved an up close and intimate relationship with tree bark. These birds and others forage by creeping along tree trunks, carefully inspecting nooks and crannies for goodies. While not much appears evident, other than bark and a robust Poison Ivy vine, there is more here than meets the eye. When Steve and I returned from the Rhododendron Cove's summit, we found that Lisa had it made it no further than the tree we had left her at.
Small wonder; she noticed that some of the lichens were walking! This led her to closely scrutinize the trunk, and find all manner of cool stuff. Anyway, we were naturally quite interested to learn of her moving lichens, a clump of which can be seen in the photo above.
Giant Lichen Orb-Weaver
I happened to know what was going on, having seen this phenomenon before. She had discovered larval lacewings,a type of insect that in its immature state, camouflages its body with bits of lichens.
Here we have captured one of the little brutes, so that you can better see what is going on. When on the tree, the lacewing larva moves with a plodding, herky-jerky sluggishness, and is quite difficult to notice.
It's sort of like one of those cartoons, where the hunter disguises himself as a shrub, and tries to scuttle nearer his prey when it isn't looking. When nabbed and flipped upside down, we can see the larva's lattened, ribbed body, and a few of its legs protruding.
Lichens | Naturally Curious with Mary Holland
She wears a wonderful disguise that makes her resemble common lichen. Just when I think I have seen everything that Nature has to offer, I run across something new. I danced the little jig that most of us do when we run into a spider web.
After I rubbed the sticky strands from my face, I examined the web.
Lichens A Composite Organism That Arises Stock Photo (Edit Now) - Shutterstock
It stretched from a hackberry limb above my head down to the ground. This web was a good six feet across. And right in the middle was a round ball of lichen. Or so I thought.
I looked closer at the ball. I could see now that it had legs—eight of them. It was a spider. It kept its legs tucked up underneath its body, unlike many large garden spiders.
Its body was the size of a walnut. And the color patterns on its big, round carapace resembled the lichens on surrounding trees. I had never seen a spider quite like this before.
Orb-weavers spin those classic spider webs that are almost circular, with spokes radiating out from a central hub. Sticky threads spiral around the spokes, making a distinctive wheel pattern.
What is symbiotic relationship between lichen and a hackberry tree?
The guide went on to explain that the most common orb-weavers are members of the genus Araneus. This genus contains both large, heavy-bodied species and smaller ones.
And in some of these species, the female measures 28 mm! That is more than an inch; definitely the size of a walnut. I was convinced that my orb-weaver was one of the large Araneus spiders. Only five species of these big orb-weavers occur in Texas. The light gray-green coloration and patterns indicated it was Araneus bicentarius, the Giant Lichen Orb-weaver.