Biological studies of the fauna of pitcher plants (Nepenthes) in west Malaysia

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1979
Authors:Beaver, R.A.
Journal:Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France
Type of Article:Article
ISBN Number:0037-9271
Accession Number:ZOOREC:ZOOR11600021792
Keywords:Asia, biology, Diptera, Ecology, Eurasia, Faunal lists, Habitat, Hosts, Hymenoptera, Land zones, Lepidoptera, Nepenthes, Oriental region, Parasites diseases and disorders, Terrestrial, west

An account is given of the biology of 25 spp. of insects and 3 spp. of arachnids living in the pitchers of N. albomarginata, N. ampullaria and N. gracilis in Penang. The fauna is dominated in terms of species richness and in number of individuals per pitcher by Culicidae (10 spp.), but 8 other families of Diptera are represented, as well as Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Araneae and Acari. Some differences between the faunas of different Nepenthes spp. can be related to the structure of the pitchers; others may be related to the different habitats in which the Nepenthes occur. Most of the species (82%) have aquatic larvae, and most (79%) are not known to breed in other habitats (nepenthebiont species). Most species (71%) use the corpses of insects falling into the pitcher for food either directly or indirectly (by feeding on saprophagic microorganisms). The community also includes 5 spp. of predator, 2 parasitoids and 1 herbivore. Two of the predators (a spider and the larvae of a mycetophilid fly) catch insects entering or leaving the pitcher; the others have aquatic larvae. The larvae of 4 spp. in the families Culicidae, Mycetophilidae, Sarcophagidae and Calliphoridae and the spider only occur as single individuals in the pitchers. This is related to their relatively large size and the limited amounts of food available in the pitchers. Most of the nepenthebiont species seem adapted to an irregular food supply and their larvae can survive long periods without food. A few nepenthexene species are opportunistic and take advantage of an occasional surplus of undigested food in the pitchers.

Taxonomy checked: 
TDWG distribution: 
Specimens imported: 
Tue, 2007-07-24 14:40 -- vblago
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith