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Species at Risk

Seaside Centipede Lichen

Heterodermia sitchensis

What is Parks Canada doing to help save the seaside centipede lichen?

Species at Risk - Who Knew?

There are very few known sites where the seaside centipede lichen grows. But these rare sites are home to most of the world's population of this species.


In 2001 and 2002, surveys and research were conducted in and around Pacific Rim National Park Reserve for seaside centipede lichen. In total, 159 thalli were found. In 2003, Haida Gwaii and Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve were searched for seaside centipede lichen. Although many new and rare species of lichen were found, researchers concluded that the seaside centipede lichen likely does not occur in the archipelago. In 2004, a search was conducted for seaside centipede lichen and other rare lichens in Kyuquot Sound and the Broughton Archipelago. New occurrences of seaside centipede lichen were found on and around Spring island in Kyuquot Sound, bringing the total known number of thalli to 213 and extending the range 130 km to the northwest.

Seaside centipede lichen habitat.
Parks Canada is taking part in surveys of the seaside centipede lichen and research into its life history and ecology.
© Parks Canada

Although this work has substantially increased the known world population of this endangered species, it also clearly indicates how specific this species' habitat requirements are. Most of the seaside centipede lichen population exists in only a few sites.

In addition to surveys of the lichen's distribution, Parks Canada is also involved in research into the nutrient requirements of the seaside centipede lichen.

Recovery Actions

Parks Canada is leading the development of a recovery strategy for the seaside centipede lichen. The seaside centipede lichen recovery team is reviewing a draft recovery plan that calls for further research, habitat protection and public education to help this endangered species recover.

Public Education

Parks Canada is working to include seaside centipede lichen as a component of guided walks, evening programs and on-site talks that focus on the coastal temperate rainforest.

Working with Partners

In its research and as a member of the seaside centipede lichen recovery team, Parks Canada is working with a variety of partners, including lichenologists and the Government of British Columbia.