Digestive mutualism of a protocarnivorous plant

Digestive mutualism of a protocarnivorous plant

Digestive mutu­al­ism of a pro­to­car­ni­vor­ous plant

The pro­to­car­ni­vor­ous plant Paepalanthus bro­me­lioides (Eriocaulaceae) has a rosette-like struc­ture com­monly inhab­ited by pred­at­ors such as spiders, whilst their roots are wrapped by a cyl­indrical termite mound that grows beneath the rosette. Nishi et al. use labor­at­ory and field stud­ies in Brazil to exam­ine nutri­ent rela­tion­ships between these vari­ous mutulistic part­ners and find that the nat­ural 15N sig­na­ture of P. bro­me­lioides is sim­ilar to that of car­ni­vor­ous plants and higher than that of non-carnivorous plants in the study area. The res­ults sug­gest a strong nitro­gen input derived from the termite mounds, account­ing for about two-thirds of total plant N, but also clear input from pred­at­ors and insects via the rosette. They con­clude that des­pite most of the N being absorbed through their roots, P. bro­me­lioides has all the attrib­utes neces­sary to be con­sidered as a car­ni­vor­ous plant in the con­text of digest­ive mutualism.

Annals of Botany Office.

The Annals of Botany Office is based at the University of Leicester.