The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

Darlingtonia pollination studies in 2006

Return to the Trip Overview

When I relocated this spider to a twig, it shot out a thread and patiently waited until the free end of the strand snagged on a nearby branch. Then the spider shimmied along the line, secured it with greater strength at both ends, and started creating a new mass of webbing.

Why am I talking so much about these spiders? Because some have postulated they have something to do with Darlingtonia pollination! It is remarkable, but except for one observation of an unknown species of bee visiting a Darlingtonia flower (Andrena sp.; again, by the marvelous Christine Elder in her master's thesis; Elder 1997, p67), no one has ever observed an insect pollinating Darlingtonia! People have watched the plants, set up sticky traps, and tried other methods to identify the pollinating agent. But nothing has ever been seen!

back      forward

Revised: October 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005