Hi all, not sure if I am going to be getting any replies here as it seems rather quiet here, but I will try my luck anyway. I am considering writing on something along this lines - lower pitchers always 'face' the light, whereas uppers dont - random. This is observed in quite a few different species of neps but I will be looking at N.rafflesiana in focus. I have read J.A.Moran's article about pitcher dimorphism in n.raff and he takes up 2 factors of fragrance and UV reflection and discusses why and how these affect the captured prey differences and such. (this is also briefly discussed in C.Clarke's Neps of Borneo, pg34) I am thinking of doing my research along the lines of how pitcher orientation affects prey capture and function of the pitcher. And would like to hear from others about what they think, and even suggestions for my research. thanks Lam
Well, I have noticed the lower pitchers tend to face the tendril, and that often means they are facing the plants, or are turned to the side.
The peristomes of Nepenthes reflect more visible light they receive. Neat trick on their part. I think the plumbagin (sp?) in the nectar acts as a brightener, changing UV into visible light. Perhaps the affect is more enhanced in the spectrum insects see.
I take that insects can actually see UV? Well, in that case the brightening affect would make the peristome appear darker to them... Right? Does this simulate a flower from the insect's point of view? If so, how? And how good of a fasimile flower is it?
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I believe that such relationships have been documented with other plants.
I am still uncomfortable with using the 'pollinator model' to try to understand the pitcher/prey relationship. Although this analog seems to fit, sort of, with upper pitchers and flying insects, its application to lower pitches seems problematic.
I think the primary reason that insects are attracted to the pitcher ( .... saying the "pitcher attracts insects" can sound too willful) is due to some sort of chemical mechanism rather than a visual one.
"The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones ..." John Maynard Keynes
Post by phissionkorps on Oct 21, 2007 13:53:10 GMT 7
Well then thats exactly how flowers attract insects. Get them interested and actively looking for the flower by scent (nectar/pheromones/both), then they employ UV markings to show the insect "hey, this is what you've been looking for. PS: land right on this part"
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Hi, thanks all for the replies. Looks like the discussion has gotten off to a good start... A few points:
Is the pollinator or other model of insect attraction VERY important? I never actually thought too much on this because does the pitcher have to be a sort of symbol like the symbolic M of macdonalds signifies a fast food outlet? Cant the UV patterns be of high contrast simply to gain attention or be 'spotted' rather than to deceive insects into thinking its a flower or something else?
anyway back to the topic, so we know there is some sort of visual cue on the pitcher itself which directs flying insects onto the peristome landing platform. But how then does this correlate to pitcher orientation? Why do upper pitchers orientate randomly but lowers in a fixed manner? Or rather why MUST lowers orientate in a fixed manner - with mouth facing the light?
With regards to prey, J.Moran's article showed that ants didnt care much about UV and such, though they did favour uppers for their fragrance (larger proportion of uppers had fragrance than did lowers). since a majority of the ants follow a pheremone trail, i think we can rule them out of our discussion. What I was intersted in was vertebrates like lizards. I hear quite a lot about raff lowers eating lizards, but didnt really see much about lizards in J.Moran's paper. Other interested prey which could be discussed about is crickets and spiders, both of which documented to be quite common prey.
I have notice pitcher plant in the wild, esp those on cliff or slope. They have the pitcher mouth facing out. That is if you look at the plant from below you see all the mouth facing you. Which you notice that lower pitcher always face the light as the other side face the cliff or slope which is darker.
I would say that the pitcher is avoiding rainwater accumulation rather than due to prey. If it were to face inward towards the slope, when it rains, raindrops hitting the soil will bounce up together with soil particle into the pitcher. The pitcher will accumulate soil and water and not insects.
The reason why upper pitcher face random is because it is far away from ground as it usually climb on other plants. So there is no issue that rainwater will accumulate the way i mentioned earlier.
It is quite evident that the lower pitchers face light for me because my balcony receives light only from one direction. The lower pitchers all face outwards for plants which I hang on the pole across my balcony e.g. N. distillatoria, N. thorelii, N. veitchii and N. rafflesiana.
As for upper pitchers, they do not face the direction of the light e.g. N. albomarginata, N. tobaica x thorelii, and N. bellii, N. thorelii x aristolochioides.
thatoneplantboi: Hey guys, I'm new to growing nepenthes, I'm getting a mini indoor greenhouse to grow them in. What kind of light should I use for them? Also, if you could provide a link to a product, it would be very much appreciated
Oct 5, 2017 10:16:29 GMT 7
borneo: Yes, they work superbly. But you don't need expensive lights, cheap ones work well too.
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