Species Profile

Golden-eye Lichen Great Lakes population

Scientific Name: Teloschistes chrysophthalmus
Taxonomy Group: Lichens
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2016
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v); C2a(i,ii); D1
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This population now consists of a single individual on a single Red Oak tree found in Sandbanks Provincial Park on Lake Ontario. Trend data are limited, but suggest that this population, which is associated with deciduous host trees, was likely always rare in this province. The number of mature individuals of this lichen has declined due to a combination of threats, which include air pollution, human disturbance, invasive species and severe weather. A single natural or human-induced event could lead to the loss of the entire population.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Endangered in November 2016.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2021-08-12

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Description | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Description

The Golden-eye Lichen, Teloschistes chrysophthalmus, is a distinctive bright orange to greenish-grey, tree-inhabiting macrolichen. The thallus has a tufted, shrubby habit often with flattened branches held to surfaces by a central holdfast. The abundant orange fruiting bodies (apothecia) with ciliate margins and the lack of vegetative propagules such as isidia or soredia, distinguish this species within the genus. [Updated by COSEWIC - Nov, 2016]

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Distribution and Population

In Canada, the Golden-eye Lichen occurs in localized areas of south-central Manitoba, northwestern Ontario, and the southern portion of the Great Lakes region of Ontario. In the USA, the Golden-eye Lichen is known from the interior Midwest, the Great Plains south to Texas, and from coastal California and Mexico. On the east coast of the USA, there are historical records from Maine south to New Jersey with recent sightings only in North Carolina. The Golden-eye Lichen occurs in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere on five continents (except for Asia and Antarctica). Records include southern portions of Australia and New Zealand, North Africa, the Canary and Cape Verde Islands as well as western, central and southern Europe. There are also scattered occurrences in South America, especially Argentina and Chile. Twenty-five Golden-eye Lichen occurrences have been documented in Canada representing three subpopulations: Prairie, Boreal, and Great Lakes. Six occurrences comprise the Prairie subpopulation; 14 occurrences form the Boreal subpopulation (one of which is historical); and five occurrences comprise the Great Lakes subpopulation (four of which are historical and likely extirpated). The Great Lakes subpopulation is considered to be a separate designatable unit because it is geographically isolated and ecologically distinct, growing on deciduous trees. The total abundance in 2013 of the Golden-eye Lichen in Canada was estimated to be greater than 15 million individuals. The number of lichen colonies on White Spuce trees was estimated by counting colonies on individual branches. Then the number of branches occupied by the lichen on each tree was counted. Using these data, it was estimated that individual trees were each host to between 10,000-20,000 lichen colonies. Thus, while the number of individuals in the total population of the Golden-eye Lichen is very high, they could be accommodated by as few as 7,000 to 15,000 White Spruce trees. Approximately 99% of the known Golden-eye Lichen population occurs in the Prairie subpopulation, more specifically within 15 km of Spruce Woods Provincial Forest in south-central Manitoba. Outside this core area, the occurrences are few, small and fragmented, and likely represent a former more continuous range. The Boreal subpopulation contains approximately 0.03-0.05% of the total population (estimated at 5,000-7,000 individuals) and occurs from southern Lake Winnipeg through Lake of the Woods to Rainy Lake in northwestern Ontario. The Great Lakes subpopulation, is a separate DU and now consists of a single individual found in Sandbanks Provincial Park along Lake Ontario. Trend data from this region, while scant, suggests that the species was likely always rare in this area, but has declined due to human-induced factors. [Updated by COSEWIC - Nov, 2016]

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Habitat

The Golden-eye Lichen requires well-lit, humid environments in temperate to Mediterranean climates, and is often found near shorelines and coastal areas. In Canada, it is most common on the branches and twigs of several host tree species. In south-central Manitoba, numerous thalli are found on mature White Spruce that grow loosely clustered in “islands” within mixed-grass prairie in the Assiniboine Delta region over calcareous sands. In southeastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, the Golden-eye Lichen grows at very low density in relatively open, conifer-dominated woods and rocky barrens on White Spruce, Trembling Aspen, Jack Pine, Balsam Fir and Bur Oak. In the southern Great Lakes region of Ontario, the only extant site for the Golden-eye Lichen is in a remnant old-growth coastal deciduous forest of Sugar Maple, Eastern Hop-hornbeam and Red Oak along Lake Ontario growing over limestone bedrock. Here, it grows on well-lit bark of Red Oak.[Updated by COSEWIC - Nov, 2016]

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Biology

Sexual reproduction in the Golden-eye Lichen occurs via the dispersal of fungal ascospores that must germinate and encounter a compatible green alga of the genus Trebouxia. Short distance dispersal by asexual reproduction as a result of thallus fragmentation is common in lichens and is assumed to occur in the Golden-eye Lichen. This species is a mesotrophic lichen that tolerates moderate amounts of nitrogen but not the high levels tolerated by nitrophytic lichens such as the related Maritime Sunburst Lichen. Growth rates of the Golden-eye Lichen are quite rapid, likely because of its preference for well-lit, nutrient-enriched substrata resulting in a shorter generation time than many other species of lichen. However, the Golden-eye Lichen is sensitive to acid rain and sulphur dioxide, partially because of its shrubby nature that gives it a high surface area to volume ratio.[Updated by COSEWIC - Nov, 2016]

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Threats

The results of the threats calculator assessment indicate that the impacts of the threats to the Golden-eye Lichen in Canada are considered to be “medium to high.” The main threats to the very large Prairie subpopulation are fire and fire suppression, climate change, recreational activities and livestock grazing. The Boreal subpopulation may be affected by cottage development while the very small Great Lakes subpopulation, now reduced to a single host tree, could be affected by several threats including severe weather, human disturbance, air pollution, and invasive species. [Updated by COSEWIC - Nov, 2016]

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Golden-eye Lichen, Great Lakes population, is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

5 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Status Report on the Golden-eye Lichen Teloschistes chrysophthalmus in Canada (2017-10-24)

    The Golden-eye Lichen, Teloschistes chrysophthalmus, is a distinctive bright orange to greenish-grey, tree-inhabiting macrolichen. The thallus has a tufted, shrubby habit often with flattened branches held to surfaces by a central holdfast. The abundant orange fruiting bodies (apothecia) with ciliate margins and the lack of vegetative propagules such as isidia or soredia, distinguish this species within the genus.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Golden-eye Lichen, Great Lakes population (2018-01-18)

    This population now consists of a single individual on a single Red Oak tree found in Sandbanks Provincial Park on Lake Ontario. Trend data are limited, but suggest that this population, which is associated with deciduous host trees, was likely always rare in this province. The number of mature individuals of this lichen has declined due to a combination of threats, which include air pollution, human disturbance, invasive species and severe weather. A single natural or human-induced event could lead to the loss of the entire population.

Orders

  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (2021-09-01)

    The objectives of the Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (the Order) are to help maintain Canada's biodiversity and support the well-being of Canadian ecosystems by preventing wildlife species from becoming extirpated from Canada or extinct and to contribute to their recovery, as well as to respond to COSEWIC's recommendations.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report 2016 to 2017 (2017-10-24)

    Over the past year COSEWIC re-examined the status of 40 wildlife species; of these, the majority (78 %) were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. Of a total of 73 species assessed 11 were assigned the status of Not at Risk (8 re-assessments and 3 new assessments). To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 735 wildlife species in various risk categories including 321 Endangered, 172 Threatened, 219 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated (i.e. - no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition 16 species have been assessed as Extinct, 58 have been designated as Data Deficient and 186 were assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species January 2018 (2018-01-26)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection afforded by the prohibitions and from recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 555 wildlife species at risk. In 2017, final listing decisions were made for 44 terrestrial species and 15 aquatic species. Of these 59 species, 35 were new additions, sixteen were reclassifications, three had a change made to how they are defined, two were removed from Schedule 1, one was referred back to COSEWIC for further evaluation and two were the object of ‘do not list’ decisions. In 2017, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, the Governor in Council approved listing proposals for 45 wildlife species. It is proposed that 21 species be added to Schedule 1, 11 be reclassified, 12 would have a change made to how they are defined, and one would be referred back to COSEWIC for further evaluation. The listing proposals were published in Canada Gazette, part I for a 30-day public comment period and final listing decisions for all 45 species are expected by August of 2018. Please submit your comments by May 22, 2018, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 22, 2018, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please visit the Species at Risk Public Registry (SAR) website.
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