Plant Ecology

, 184:43

Minor pollinator–prey conflict in the carnivorous plant, Drosera anglica


  • Gillian L. Murza
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Saskatchewan
  • Joanne R. Heaver
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Saskatchewan
    • Department of BiologyUniversity of Saskatchewan

DOI: 10.1007/s11258-005-9050-y

Cite this article as:
Murza, G.L., Heaver, J.R. & Davis, A.R. Plant Ecol (2006) 184: 43. doi:10.1007/s11258-005-9050-y


We studied the physical and temporal isolation of two arthropod guilds interacting with Drosera anglica Huds., a terrestrial carnivorous plant. Flowers are separated from basal trap leaves by a leafless stalk. Since arthropods are potentially employed both as prey and pollinators, we asked whether separation of traps from flowers reduces the frequency with which flower visitors are captured by the leaves. Plants captured prey throughout the season, with peak trapping activity occurring before flowering began. The diverse prey spectrum included at least 109 species in 94 genera in 26 of 37 identified families representing 11 arthropod orders. The most common prey were adult flies of Nematocera, particularly Ceratopogonidae (50%) and Chironomidae (42%). The following taxa were periodically abundant: Acarina, Diptera–Cecidomyiidae, Chloropidae, Sciaridae, Hemiptera nymphs and Thysanoptera–Thripidae. Flies (Diptera) were chief flower visitors (95%), dominated by Syrphidae (66%), Bombyliidae and Muscidae (10% each), Calliphoridae (7%), Tachinidae and Dolichopodidae (3% each). Additionally, visitors were a bee (Hymenoptera–Halictidae) and thrips (Thysanoptera–Thripidae). Four families were common to both guilds: Diptera–Dolichopodidae, Muscidae, Tachinidae; and Thysanoptera–Thripidae. However, direct comparisons of identified taxa within these families showed that overlap between flower visitors and prey occurred for Thrips sp. larvae alone, which comprised only 3% of all flower visitors and 0.5% of prey. Drosera anglica exploits distinct guilds of insects for pollinators and prey.


Diptera NematoceraDroseraceaeFlower visitorsOblong-leaved SundewSyrphidaeThripidae

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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005