Proboscidea & Dicyphus: A spontaneous plant-bug-mutualism.


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Proboscidea & Dicyphus: A spontaneous plant-bug-mutualism.
A population of the mirid-bug (Miridae) Dicyphus errans, a species occurring in Europe, colonized a group of Proboscidea louisianica (Martyniaceae, USA) cultivated in a garden in Germany. More than 20 individuals of these predatory bugs have been found living and moving freely on the sticky plants, feeding on stuck victims, while garden ants (Lasius species) trying to place aphids for “sugar farming” become captured together with their “productive livestock”, just like small flies and bees.
Proboscidea as well as Roridula do not produce digestive enzymes, so they cannot benefit directly from their diverse captured prey. But as soon as predatory bugs colonize the plants and feed on the sticking prey, their droppings provide a suitable fertilizer to be absorbed by the leaves stomata. A perfect mutualism that turns an insect-trapping plant into a carnivorous one.
During the first 20 hours after the upload, we received two confirmations with photo that the same bug species settled on Proboscidea in Western Germany and Northern France too. Please take a look at your devil's claws if you find the mosquito-like Dicyphus bugs and send us an info, best with photo. Thank you!
 
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