Biodiversity & Conservation

Yellow and grey lichens on supralittoral rock



Image Roger Covey - Yellow and grey lichens on supralittoral rock. Image width ca XX m.
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Distribution map

LR.FLR.Lic.YG recorded (dark blue bullet) and expected (light blue bullet) distribution in Britain and Ireland (see below)

  • EC_Habitats
  • UK_BAP

Text page icon Habitat description

Map icon Distribution of biotope in Britain and Ireland Recorded from most coasts of Britain and Ireland but probably under recorded in surveys.
National importance Widespread

Text page icon Description of biotope

For a full description of this biotope including characterizing species, distribution, survey information and references visit JNCC

Rock in the supralittoral is typically characterized by a maritime community of yellow and grey lichens, such as Xanthoria parietina and Caloplaca marina. This band of lichens is usually found immediately above a zone of Verrucaria maura (LR.Ver), a black lichen which is also present in this zone, though typically less than common. Damp pits and crevices are occasionally occupied by littorinid molluscs and acarid mites. In sheltered areas the transition from this biotope to Verrucaria maura (LR.Ver.Ver) is often indistinct and a mixed zone of LR.YG and LR.Ver.Ver may occur. With increasing wave exposure both zones become wider and more distinct. In estuaries this biotope is often restricted to artificial substrata such as sea defences. (Information taken from the Marine Biotope Classification for Britain and Ireland, Version 97.06: Connor et al., 1997a, b).

Additional information icon Additional information

Little information was found on the ecology of maritime lichen communities. The information that follows was based on reviews by Fletcher (1973a, 1973b, & 1980) and general lichen ecology by Seaward (1977) and Dobson (2000). The author would welcome comments from lichenologists.

This review can be cited as follows:

Tyler-Walters, H. 2002. Yellow and grey lichens on supralittoral rock. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Sub-programme [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 30/11/2015]. Available from: <>