, Volume 106, Issue 4, pp 478–481 | Cite as

A new plant-animal mutualism involving a plant with sticky leaves and a resident hemipteran insect

  • A. G. Ellis
  • J. J. Midgley


We report on a new plant-animal mutualism in which the plant Roridula gorgonias, first suspected by Darwin (1875) to be carnivorous, is, at least in part, indirectly carnivorous. This plant has sticky leaves which trap many insects but it has no digestive enzymes. Instead, trapped invertebrates are rapidly consumed by a hemipteran Pameridea roridulae, only found on this plant. However, evidence from δ15N experiments suggests that R. gorgonias does derive significant amounts of nitrogen from trapped prey, apparently via exudations of P. roridulae.

Key words

Roridula gorgonias Carnivorous plant Hemipterans 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. Ellis
    • 1
  • J. J. Midgley
    • 1
  1. 1.Botany DepartmentUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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