INVERTEBRATE ANIMALS EXTRACTED FROM NATIVE TILLANDSIA (BROMELIALES: BROMELIACEAE) IN SARASOTA COUNTY, FLORIDA
AbstractTwenty four epiphytic bromeliads belonging to four species (Tillandsia fasciculata Swartz, T. recurvata (L.), T. setacea Swartz, and T. utriculata L.) were collected in Sarasota County, Florida, in October-November 1997. Macroscopic invertebrate animals were extracted from each by washing in water, filtering, and preserving in 75% ethanol. Plant sizes were measured in several ways, and their substrate was identified. Invertebrates were sorted, counted, and identified as far as possible to the species level. Two species (T. fasciculata, T. utriculata) that impound water in their leaf axils housed aquatic dipteran larvae and pupae (Psychodidae, Culicidae, Ceratopogonidae, Chironomidae, Muscidae, and Aulacigastridae) representing 7 species in 6 genera. Only T. utriculata had a clear relationship between plant size and number of invertebrates, which was steeper when only aquatic insect larvae were counted. Plants of all four species housed terrestrial invertebrates, representing minimally an additional 82 species in 75 genera and 63 families, very few of which are known to have an obligate relationship with bromeliads, but showing that these plants support a diverse invertebrate fauna. The presence of ant nests in some bromeliads complicated analysis. Such a list of terrestrial invertebrates, identified to the species level, has not before been compiled for bromeliads in Florida. Some collaborating taxonomists obtained specimens of species that they could not identify, including probably undescribed species.
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