Painting by: William H. Bond
As Published in National Geographic 1975 147(3):393
Used with Permission of National Geographic
University of Florida
Department of Entomology & Nematology
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Many bromeliads impound water in a central cup and/or in separate leaf axils. The small bodies of water thus trapped may function as aquaria for aquatic organisms and are called phytotelmata. The animals and other organisms that live in them are not pests of bromeliads, but a few (some mosquitoes) cause problems for people.
Outer leaf axils of many bromeliads hold no water, but they do hold decomposing organic materials and are humid. Many species of terrestrial animals seek refuge in these bromeliad terraria, especially in the dry season in neotropical countries. These organisms are not harmful to the plants, but a few (venomous snakes and scorpions) may be harmful to people.
Pests of bromeliads
Some organisms eat bromeliads. Some are specialists, and some are not. They range from fungi and nematodes through scale insects and weevils to squirrels (in North America) and spectacled bears (in South America).
A few species of bromeliads trap and eat insects (and occasionally a few other unlucky animals).
Animals as pollinators and seed-dispersers of bromeliads
Pollination of bromeliads is by animals in all known instances. Seeds of some bromeliads are dispersed by wind, but animals disperse the seeds of others.
Plant & Insect Associations
Read about Florida's endangered bromeliads
Read about Florida's native bromeliads
Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies
Bromeliad Society International
Bromeliad Society of South Florida
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This site is maintained by Howard Frank, Entomology & Nematology Department, University of Florida (firstname.lastname@example.org).