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Ant-plant (Myrmecophyte)

Squamellaria wilsonii

Description:

A symbiotic (living closely together) mutualist (both species benefit) epiphyte with the ant Philidris nagasau) endemic to the island of Taveuni ONLY in the north east of the Fijian Archipelago. Within the tuber is a gallery system that resembles the structure that ants build in soil etc.; however, here the nest is produced entirely by the plant with no structural help from its ant guests. An example of co-evolution.

Habitat:

Often several to numerous specimens to a tree growing at altitudes of 200- 900 m. (656- 2953 ft.) in dense mountain rain forest. I only found them on the dry side of the island exposed to the regular trade winds.

Notes:

The name I previously used here was Squamellaria imberbis following Jebb 1991 whom treated somewhat similar specimens from Vanua Levu Island and nearby Taveuni Island as but one species. However, Chomicki & Renner's 2016 revision of the genus found sufficient differences supported by molecular phylogenetics to warrant resurrecting an older synonym for Taveuni island populations. (see, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article....) Taveuni Island specimens as this one is are now Squamellaria wilsonii (Horne ex Baker) Becc. (Odoardo Beccari) in Malesia Raccolta 2, p229, (1884- 6.) http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/... Basionym, Hydnophytum wilsonii Horne ex Baker, published in Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany 20, p365 (1883.) http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/.... http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/.... Albert C. Smith, Flora Vitiensis Nova: A New Flora for Fiji, Vol. 4, p245/8, (1988). With images, http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/...

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DerrickRowe
Spotted by
DerrickRowe

Northern, Fiji

Spotted on Jul 31, 2013
Submitted on Jul 25, 2015

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