Rodent Tuber (Typhonium flagelliforme): 2. A cloud of tiny insects

posted in: Plants, Pollination, Videography | 0

Part 1: Plant HERE.

Typhonium divaricatum pt-infl 1101

Some time ago, curious to see the flowers inside the bulbous base of the inflorescence of Rodent Tuber (Typhonium flagelliforme), I broke one open (above). What I saw was a mass of crawling tiny insects inside (below). They immediately crawled out and flew off.

Typhonium-Moth Fly (Diptera: Psychodidae)

Scouring the literature, I found out that these were the pollinating agents. They were trapped inside the inflorescence until they complete their job of transferring pollen from their body to the female flowers (below).

Typhonium flagelliforme inflo-LS

Only then, and when the male flowers have shed their pollen would they be allowed to escape from the temporary prison.

Eager to document these tiny insects escaping, I recently proceeded to video the mass escape by cutting open a mature inflorescence (above, below).

The literature states that Typhonium flagelliforme is pollinated by beetles. The above shows that the plant is also pollinated by flies or gnats LINK. Dr Leong Tzi Ming was kind enough to ID the fly as Moth Fly (Diptera: Psychodidae).

YC Wee
27th November 2017

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