Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Thallus of a crustose lichen (Xanthoparmelia sp.) (surface and just below surface). Note the fine filamentous fungal hyphae (medulla) exposed next to the main thallus surface (smooth and raised area - upper left). Lichens are associations of fungi and algae. The fungi and algae grow with their tissues intimately entwined. The fungi receive sugars and other carbon compounds from the algae. The fungi produce lichen acids which are a mixture of special chemicals that are thought to protect both fungi and algae from being eaten by predators. Mutualistic or symbiotic relationship. Magnification: x60 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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