Community Ecology


, Volume 108, Issue 3, pp 562-566

First online:

Variance in composition of inquiline communities in leaves of Sarracenia purpurea L. on multiple spatial scales

  • E. HarveyAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Science, Florida State University
  • , T. E. MillerAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Science, Florida State University Email author 

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A survey of the abundances of species that inhabit the water-bearing leaves of the pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea was conducted at several different spatial scales in northern Florida. Individual leaves are hosts to communities of inquiline species, including mosquitoes, midges, mites, copepods, cladocerans, and a diverse bacterial assemblage. Inquiline communities were quantified from four pitchers per plant, three plants per subpopulation, two subpopulations per population, and three populations. Species varied in abundance at different spatial scales. Variation in the abundances of mosquitoes and copepods was not significantly associated with any spatial scale. Midges varied in abundance at the level of populations; one population contained significantly more midges than the other two. Cladocerans varied at the level of the subpopulation, whereas mites varied at the level of the individual plants. Bacterial communities were described by means of Biolog plates, which quantify the types of carbon media used by the bacteria in each pitcher. Bacterial communities were found to vary significantly in composition among individual plants but not among populations or subpopulations. These results suggest that independent factors determining the abundances of individual species are important in determining community patterns in pitcher-plant inquilines.

Key words

Sarracenia purpurea Spatial patterns Wyeomyia smithii Metriocnemus knabi Inquiline