Behind the scenes at AoB Blog.

An Inside Look at Pitcher Plants
A pitcher plant’s work seems simple: their tube-shaped leaves catch and hold rainwater, which drowns the ants, beetles, and flies that stumble in. But the rainwater inside a pitcher plant is not just a malevolent dunking pool. It also hosts a complex system of aquatic life, including wriggling mosquito, flesh fly, and midge larvae; mites; rotifers; copepods; nematodes; and multicellular algae. These tiny organisms are crucial to the pitcher plant’s ability to process food. They create what scientists call a ‘processing chain’: when a bug drowns in the pitcher’s rainwater, midge larvae swim up and shred it to smaller pieces, bacteria eat the shredded pieces, rotifers eat the bacteria, and the pitcher plant absorbs the rotifers’ waste. But that’s not the whole story. Fly larvae are also eating the rotifers, midge larvae, and each other, and everybody eats bacteria. It’s a complex food web that shifts on the order of seconds.
Predicting food-web structure with metacommunity models
Image: http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/press-resources-inside-look-pitcher-plants-4113
Related:
Nepenthes pitfall traps are an anti-microbial environment

An Inside Look at Pitcher Plants

A pitcher plant’s work seems simple: their tube-shaped leaves catch and hold rainwater, which drowns the ants, beetles, and flies that stumble in. But the rainwater inside a pitcher plant is not just a malevolent dunking pool. It also hosts a complex system of aquatic life, including wriggling mosquito, flesh fly, and midge larvae; mites; rotifers; copepods; nematodes; and multicellular algae. These tiny organisms are crucial to the pitcher plant’s ability to process food. They create what scientists call a ‘processing chain’: when a bug drowns in the pitcher’s rainwater, midge larvae swim up and shred it to smaller pieces, bacteria eat the shredded pieces, rotifers eat the bacteria, and the pitcher plant absorbs the rotifers’ waste. But that’s not the whole story. Fly larvae are also eating the rotifers, midge larvae, and each other, and everybody eats bacteria. It’s a complex food web that shifts on the order of seconds.

Predicting food-web structure with metacommunity models

Image: http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/press-resources-inside-look-pitcher-plants-4113

Related:

Nepenthes pitfall traps are an anti-microbial environment

  1. thehungrybog reblogged this from understorey
  2. a-whore-in-church reblogged this from understorey
  3. devinalloyd reblogged this from understorey
  4. bitingtheapple reblogged this from softwaring
  5. handlegs reblogged this from purpseven
  6. purpseven reblogged this from marbleplant
  7. freudsapprentice reblogged this from astralflowerchild
  8. fernteen reblogged this from leafla
  9. itsonlynoon reblogged this from asleepysol
  10. asleepysol reblogged this from leafla
  11. mooonshadoww reblogged this from leafla
  12. drizzily reblogged this from leafla
  13. darrughl reblogged this from astralflowerchild
  14. ryunui reblogged this from leafla
  15. leafla reblogged this from blewm
  16. blewm reblogged this from astralflowerchild
  17. astralflowerchild reblogged this from neurowall
  18. droseraflowers reblogged this from understorey
  19. abortifacients reblogged this from understorey
  20. lankyadventurer reblogged this from understorey
  21. tiorukuss reblogged this from understorey
  22. mikepots83 reblogged this from stickytraps
  23. 2chainzlegit reblogged this from understorey