Plant Ecology

, 184:43 | Cite as

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

  • Gillian L. Murza
  • Joanne R. Heaver
  • Arthur R. DavisEmail author


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 Nematocera Droseraceae Flower visitors Oblong-leaved Sundew Syrphidae Thripidae 



We thank Mr. Jack Keel, Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management, for permission to collect material from the Macdowall Bog Protected Region, Professor Emeritus Bob Baker (Dept. of Plant Sciences, University of Saskatchewan) for assistance with statistics, and the following individuals for insect verifications/further identifications: Mr. B. Bilyj (Chironomidae) (BIOTAX, Toronto, ON, Canada); Mr. S. Brooks (Dolichopodidae) (McGill University, Macdonald Campus, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, QC, Canada); Dr. B.V. Brown (Phoridae) (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA, USA); Dr. N. Evenhuis (Bombyliidae) (Bishop Museum, HI, USA); Dr. R.J. Gagné (Cecidomyiidae) (Systematic Entomology Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD, USA); Dr. J. Gelhaus (Ptychopteridae, Tipulidae) (Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, USA); Dr. G. Griffiths (Anthomyiidae, Muscidae) (Sherwood Park, AB, Canada); Dr. W.L. Grogan (Ceratopogonidae) (Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD, USA); Dr. D.V. Hagan (Ceratopogonidae, Psychodidae) (Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, USA); Dr. T.A. Wheeler (Chloropidae, Sciomyzidae) (McGill University, Macdonald Campus, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, QC, Canada); and the following individuals at the Systematic Entomology Section, Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada: Mr. B.E. Cooper (Calliphoridae), Mr. A. Davies (Cantharidae); Dr. G.A.P. Gibson (Encyrtidae); Dr. K.G.A. Hamilton (Cicadellidae, Delphacidae); Dr. J. Huber (Mymaridae, Trichogrammatidae); Dr. L. Masner (Diapriidae, Platygasteridae, Scelionidae); Mr. E. Maw (Aphididae, Thripidae); Dr. J.E. O’Hara (Tachinidae); Dr. J.R. Vockeroth (Syrphidae); and Mr. H.C.W. Walther (Muscidae). Voucher specimens of plants are located in the W.P. Fraser Herbarium (SASK), and reference specimens of insects housed in the Entomology Museum, Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan. We are also grateful to A. Ellison, S. Wilson and an anonymous reviewer for valued comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. Funding (G.L.M.) is gratefully acknowledged: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada (PGS A); Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan (Graduate Teaching Fellowship, Margaret MacKay Scholarship in Biology, R. Jan F. Smith Memorial Scholarship); Entomological Society of Saskatchewan (Brooks Scholarship). This research was supported by NSERC (A.R.D.).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gillian L. Murza
    • 1
  • Joanne R. Heaver
    • 1
  • Arthur R. Davis
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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