Donate Take Action

Join us


Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Black Shields Tephromela atra

Crustose lichens such as black shields, which form a crust over the rock, attach themselves so firmly using fungal filaments that they cannot be easily removed from it. Over time, these anchoring filaments break down the rock as they alternately shrink when dry and swell when moist. Black shields is a thick, gray lichen with a rough, often cracked, surface from which project a number of characteristic black fruiting bodies.

Black Shieldszoom image
  • Phylum Ascomycota
  • Width Up to 4 in (10 cm)
  • Habitat In and above the splash zone
  • Distribution Polar coasts, coast of California, US, Gulf of Mexico, Mediterranean, Indian Ocean
Black Shields habitat mapzoom image