Re: Ant symbiosis and CP

Charlotte Vandaveer (
Tue, 21 Mar 1995 22:52:31 -0500 (EST)

The Nepenthes probably gains protection. I have 2 spp. of Tillandsia, a
Hydnophytum, and a Myrmecodia, all have symbiotic relationships with
ants. No other insect is able to get established on these plants. When
all my other plants have mealybugs or scale, these 4 are clean because
the ants remove any pests immediately. Interestingly, even though these
4 spp. are far from their native habitats, Florida native ants have moved
in and filled the role in the relationship.
Happy trapping,

On Sat, 18 Mar 1995 wrote:

> There is at least one symbiotic relationship between ants and CP,
> specifically Nepenthes bicalcarata. There is a species of ant that
> drills a hole in the tendril near where it attached to the pitcher.
> The tendril in this
> area is hollow and expanded. I do not have a clue as to the feeding
> habits
> of the ant but likely it is not attracted to the plants sugar lure or
> it would be a short lived relationship. Whether the entire plant is
> colonized by a single colony or several colonies live in seperate
> pitchers I cannot say. Also the upper pitchers, though small also
> posess this expanded tendril and may be used by the ants as well.
> What the Nepenthes gains from this relationship is unclear.
> Of course many insects, invertebrates and some vertebrates live and
> breed in the pitchers of many pitcher type plants.
> Cliff