Caloplaca luteominia var. bolanderi "Ruby Firedot Lichen"

Missoula, MT
March 14, 2014
Robert Niese

Caloplaca luteominea is a relatively common endolithic species of crust-like lichen. The little red cups that you see here (<1mm in diameter) are actually the reproductive structures (called apothecia) of the fungus. The rest of the organism lives within the rock (endo = within; lithic = rock), between the cracks and grains of the granite.