Niebla lobulata

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

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.

Additional Discussion: See: Introduction to Niebla and its phylogeography




Niebla lobulata + N. rugosa. Punta Santa Domingo. Spjut & Sérusiaux 17289-4866, Feb 2016, type localityDNA fragment selected in field. TLC: Sekikaic acid (+), divaricatic acid (+++), triterpenes faint. Sekikaic acid clade.

Southwest of El Rosario,
mesa on north side of road to
Punta Baja. Spjut & Sérusiaux 17088-5069, Jan 2016

Draft of Niebla phylogenetic ITS tree from Professor Steven Leavitt, snip taken by Richard Spjut within the sekikaic acid group; identification changes and geographical data added by R. Spjut. Note multiple specimens identified N. lobulata monophyletic from type locality and one additional specimen, 16-901, from type locality in another clade with specimens collected in the Desert Chaparral Transition, a significant phylogeographic disjunct occurrence by the absence of specimens elsewhere in the Northern Vizcaíno Desert (NVD). 16-901 perhaps went north with the movement of the Baja California Plate.

Southwest of El Rosario,
mesa on north side of road to
Punta Baja. Spjut & Sérusiaux 17089-4727, Jan 2016

Vizcaíno Peninsula: Approx. 4.2 km NW of Bahía Tortugas; 27°43.754, 114°55.606, 40 m, arroyo and hillsides of chalk (gypsum) soils and calcareous rocks. Spjut & Sérusiaux 17224-4814. Cited in MycoKeys 73: 18 (2020), Fig. 7. TLC: Sekikaic acid, 10 triterpenes (nieblastictanes/stictanes/flavicanes).


Vizcaíno Peninsula: Approx. 4.2 km NW of Bahía Tortugas; Spjut & Sérusiaux: 17219-4812, 30-Jan-16  DNA 4812. TLC: Sekikaic acid, 6 triterpenes (nieblastictanes/stictanes/flavicanes).        


Punta Santa Domingo
Spjut & Sérusiaux 17284-4861, Feb 2016, Type locality


Southwest of San Quintín in the Punta Mazo Reserve on east side
of Bahía Falsa in shoreline boulder outcrops. Leavitt et al. 16-859
Dec 2016

West of Villa Jesus María, along
shoreline at Punta Morro Santo Domingo.  Leavitt et al. 16-899, Dec 2016. Type locality


West of Villa Jesus María, along
shoreline at Punta Morro Santo Domingo.
 Leavitt et al. 16-906, 16908, Dec 2016. Type locality



West of Villa Jesus María, along
shoreline at Punta Morro Santo Domingo.  Leavitt et al. 16-909, 16908, Dec 2016. Type locality


Niebla lobulata x N. siphonoloba

West of Villa Jesus María, along
shoreline at Punta Morro Santo Domingo.  Leavitt et al. 16-901, Dec 2016. Type locality but not in same clade as preceding specimens. The lower basal branches with reticulate cortex and pale green color may be N. lobulata, the inflated branches with transverse cortical ridges suggest N. siphonoloba.  

South of Punta Catarina point on gypsum-based badlands. Leavitt et al. 16-1027, Dec 2016


niebla_lobulata_11557b.jpg (198694 bytes)

Bahía de Santa María
Spjut & Marin 11557
May 1991

niebla_lobulata_9567.jpg (195460 bytes)

Vizcaíno Peninsula, Mesa 
above Arroyo San Andrés, 
Spjut 9567, May 1986

niebla_lobulata_9584.jpg (137207 bytes)

Vizcaíno Peninsula, Mesa 
above Arroyo San Andrés,
Spjut 9584, May 1986

niebla_lobulata_9784A.psd.jpg (142447 bytes)

Morro Santo Domingo, type locality, Spjut 9784A
May 1986

niebla_lobulata_9784D.psd.jpg (70892 bytes)

Morro Santo Domingo,
type locality, Spjut 9784D
May 1986

niebla_crenulata_11306.jpg (135506 bytes)

Mesa Camacho,
Spjut 11306, Apr 1990

niebla_tortuosa_13051.jpg (175767 bytes)

Mesa Camacho,
Spjut & Marin 13051
Apr 1994

Mesa Camacho,
Spjut & Marin 13095,
Apr 1994

Vizcaíno Peninsula, Mesa 
above Arroyo San Andrés,
Spjut & Marin 10336, Apr 1990

Isla San Martín,
Beauchamp s.n. (COLO)

Geographical occurrences

Illustration of TLC Data for Niebla spp.

     Niebla lobulata is a species of fruticose lichen endemic to Baja California, occurring on Is. Guadalupe, Is. San Martín, and on the main peninsula from the Vizcaíno Peninsula north to Punta Canoas.  It usually grows on red volcanic rocks at the fringe of the fog zone.  The species is generally  characterized by having sekikaic acid (and triterpenes) and broad ribbon-like branches, sometimes tubular near base, contorted and undulate, occasionally  with sharply pointed segments, usually with round lobes, and reticulately ridged cortex in the upper half of the thallus.   

     Niebla lobulata is often similar to other species with which it occurs such as N. caespitosa (divaricatic acid), N. dilatata (divaricatic acid), N. flabellata (salazinic acid), N. marinii (salazinic acid), N. podetiaforma (divaricatic acid), N. rugosa (divaricatic acid), and N. sorocarpia (divaricatic acid). Its variable cortical features and lobed margins are much like the variable marginal features recognized for Niebla laminaria, which is distinguished by its chemistry of divaricatic acid and rigid thallus. Determination of the secondary metabolite, sekikaic acid, is often necessary for positive identification of N. lobulata, while it also appears to intergrade with other sekikaic-acid species such as N. suffnessii and N. siphonoloba. The former is distinguished by long sublinear branches, and the latter differs by the subtubular branches lacking secondary or fragmentation branchlets    Thalli on the Vizcaíno Peninsula were found to have larger spores and additional triterpenes.

      Internet Images of Niebla thalli reportedly taken in the Santa Monica Mountains by Jason Hollinger (2011-10-19), which were identified N. homalea, appear to be N. lobulata.  The Baja California thalli have a relatively thin cortex over a subfistulose medulla, whereas the California thalli may be recognized to have firmer branches as a result of a thicker cortex. Further study may include specimens from Morro Bay and Channel Islands.

     DNA phylogeny (Spjut et al. 2020) indicates the species to be polyphyletic in which four species for six specimens collected were delimited under that name by BPP and Stacey analyses, and two in Jorna et al. (2021) for two specimens collected at different locations (Puerto Catarina, San Quintín) for BPP; however, the species is supported with a narrower geographic range when the phylogeny takes into consideration collections from the type locality. As noted in the caption for the above phylogeny image, this includes four specimens collected by Leavitt et al., and two cited in Spjut et al. (2020, Fig. 7, 4861, 4866) from the type locality in the NVD (Morro Santo Domingo) but none of the topotypes were chosen for analyses by Jorna et al. (2021).  One additional specimen  cited by Spjut et al. from Bahía Tortugas (BT), 17219-4812, in the SVD occurs in a sister clade to those from the type locality.  Leavitt et al. 16-901 unresolved (N. lobulata X N. siphonoloba) is more closely related to specimens in the Desert Chaparral Transition than to topotypes 16-899, 16-906, 16-908, 16909. Leavitt et al. 16-906 is most similar morphologically to the type specimen, and would appear to be good a choice for an epitype.  

Additional References: See Niebla