Carnivorous plants-spider competition discoveries

This video says about itself:

The Truly Carnivorous Cape Sundew (Drosera capensis) In Action.

The carnivorous sundew plant, botanical name Drosera, has about 130 species. All of the species of the sundew plant are beautiful and many look like fireworks, but they are deadly to the insects that fly near to them.

From National Geographic:

Spiders, Carnivorous Plants Compete for Food—A First

Christine Dell’Amore

National Geographic News

Published August 25, 2010

In the battle for bugs, wolf spiders are outwitting carnivorous plants, according to the first study to show members of the plant and animal kingdoms competing for prey.

In parts of Florida and southern Georgia, two species of wolf spider eat the same insects as the pink sundew—a type of carnivorous plant.

Sundews catch bugs using a sticky mucilage on the tips of their leaves. The small plants then release digestive enzymes, which begin to process the trapped animals, leaving only their exoskeletons behind.

Sosippus floridanus spiders, meanwhile, build funnel webs slightly off the ground, at the same height as the sundews. And a wandering wolf spider species, Rabidosa rabida, actively hunts for the same insects the sundews tend to trap. (See spider web pictures.)

In the field the team saw that, when S. floridanus is in close quarters with the sundew, the spiders build larger webs farther away from the plants, presumably to snare more meals than the sundews’ leaves.

This led the team to suspect that the spiders were hurting the plants via competition.

Laboratory experiments with the hunting spider R. rabida later confirmed that the presence of spiders can deprive the plants of bugs—and thus vital nutrients.

The plants become weaker overall, producing smaller leaves and fewer seeds, according to study co-author Jason Rohr, an ecologist at the University of South Florida.

There’s no evidence so far that the plant responds in any way to the spiders’ presence, though research is underway to investigate that, Rohr added. (Related: “Plants Can Recognize, Communicate With Relatives, Studies Find.”)

Overall, the discovery contradicts a long-held assumption that competition for food mostly occurs among closely related taxa, or categories of organisms, he said.

“We have pretty convincing evidence that you get competition between very distantly related taxa.” …

As for study co-author Rohr and colleagues, they’re moving on to bigger things: seeing if the presence of toads, which eat the same insects as the spiders and plants, affects the spider-sundew interaction.

It’s “very possible,” Rohr added, that similar plant-animal rivalry exists worldwide.

“It’s an underappreciated set of interactions.”

The spider-plant competition study was published online in May in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Carnivorous plants losing ground in the U.S.: here.

Phylogeny and Classification of the Trapdoor Spider Genus Myrmekiaphila: An Integrative Approach to Evaluating Taxonomic Hypotheses: here.

(University of Cincinnati) Male wolf spiders produce multiple courtship signals — vibrations and visual cues — to attract females. New research from the University of Cincinnati shows that when courting, these males can modify their mating signals depending on the environmental surface (soil, rock, wood, leaves) in order to ensure that their message gets through: here.

Cannibal spiders are ladykillers: In a unique role reversal, male wolf spiders cannibalise older females: here.

Researchers at Auburn University have reported the discovery a new trapdoor spider species from a well-developed housing subdivision in the heart of the city of Auburn, Alabama. Myrmekiaphila tigris, affectionately referred to as the Auburn Tiger Trapdoor spider, is named in honor of Auburn University’s costumed Tiger mascot, Aubie: here.

Drs. Jana Vamosi and Steven Vamosi of the Department of Biological Sciences have found through extensive statistical analysis that the size of the geographical area is the most important factor when it comes to biodiversity of a particular flowering plant family: here.

The inventory of plants known to science worldwide has been cut by more than 600,000 species: here.

The invasion of the land by plants: when and where? Here.

A new University of Florida study shows when two flowering plants are crossed to produce a new hybrid, the new species’ genes are reset, allowing for greater genetic variation: here.

What makes a plant a plant? Here.


6 thoughts on “Carnivorous plants-spider competition discoveries

  1. Pingback: Orchard orb weaver spider videos | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Carnivorous plants avoiding eating pollinating insects | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Carnivorous plant catches jay | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: How Vernus flytraps catch insects, spiders | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.