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Abstract Detail


Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions

Day, Stephanie [1], Greenidge, Samuel [1], Petersen, Raymond L. [1].

Nematode prey by the purple pitcher plant species-specific chironomid midge larvae.

THE water-filled leaves of the purple pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea L. with their decomposing insect prey would seem a suitable habitat for nematodes, yet there are few reports of their occurrence in the pitcher-plant phytotelms. A survey of the pitchers from several S. purpurea populations yielded only one nematode (unidentified). Since the larvae of pitcher-plant specific chironomid midge Metriocnemus knabi (Coq.), have been shown to be voracious predators, it was hypothesized that they feed on nematodes. A controlled in vitro experiment was conducted to test this hypothesis. In the control-treatment (the absence of M. knabi larvae), the numbers of C. elegans nematodes increased over a 4 day period. In the experimental-treatment (the presence of M. knabi larvae), the C. elegans numbers dropped to zero after 2 days (n=12, P < 0.0001). Extensive and repeated attempts to directly observe the chironomid larvae feeding on the nematodes were fruitless. Because of this lack of direct observational proof, several samples of midge frass were examined microscopically. Embedded in the midge frass were the undigested cuticles of nematodes. It is suggested that by preying on nematodes the M. knabi larvae are preventing nematodes from becoming established in S. purpurea phytotelms.


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1 - Howard University, Department of Biology, 415 College Street Northwest, Washington, DC, 20059, USA

Keywords:
Sarracenia purpurea
pitcher plant
phytotelms
Metriocnemus knabi
nematodes.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: 48-67
Location: Auditorium/Bell Memorial Union
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 12:30 PM
Abstract ID:658


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