Use of chemicals against scale insect pests of bromeliads is likely to kill most of the other organisms associated with bromeliads, whether they are scale insects feeding on the leaves, mosquito larvae and adults, innocuous organisms inhabiting bromeliad tanks, or beneficial natural enemies.
Innocuous organisms inhabiting bromeliad tanks are very poorly known; although two hundred or so species have been recorded from bromeliad tanks in various parts of the neotropics, these are just a small part of the total, and undescribed species occur even in Florida. Many of these species are specialists, known from no habitat other than bromeliad tanks. Those that occur in south Florida may well be populations of species with wider distribution in the West Indies or Central America.
Aquatic bromeliad-inhabiting organisms show great diversity in form. They range from simple organisms (fungi, algae, and protozoa), through aquatic worms, crabs and insects, to tadpoles of frogs specialized for existence in bromeliad tanks (7, 36). The life cycles of only a few have been studied at all, and they are crabs, mosquitoes, and frogs. Even among the relatively few species of such organisms in Florida, fascinating ecological and behavioral discoveries remain to be made.
Aquatic organisms that are the immature stages of winged insects evidently are distributed between bromeliads by their winged mothers, but a question of considerable interest is how the other sorts of organisms get from one bromeliad to another (14). Other questions concern to what extent these organisms use the tanks of imported bromeliads, and whether their populations are expanding or decreasing with the urbanization of southern Florida.