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  Myrmecophilous Monstera????
From: Adam Black <epiphyte1 at earthlink.net> on 2007.02.08 at 06:28:28(15251)
While we are on the subject of shingling aroids - A friend of mine
recently got back from Panama where she was doing some field work, and
told me of how she found ants living under the juvenile shingling
foliage of a particular Monstera species she collected as an herberium
specimen. I had never heard of this occurring, and was curioius if ants
do regularly live under the shingle phase leaves in a mutualistic
relationship, as they are well-known to do in Hoya imbricata as well as
several species of Dischidia with similar shingling habits. I just
figured if it did regularly occur I would have heard about it by now.
Would be curious if ants are present in Rhaphidophora as well.

Just curious!


From: Jonathan Ertelt <jonathan.ertelt at vanderbilt.edu> on 2007.02.08 at 16:45:23(15254)

I'd be curious as to whether the ants were truly living, i.e. nesting
et al. under the leaves, or just congregating and using the leaves as
cover. I have seen this sort of protective usage by both ants and
termites as they travel up and down tree trunks, both under shingle
foliage and right in next to bare stem vines that are anchored to the
trees. Of course, especially with termites, sometimes they build
their own tunnels that look remarkably like thinnish bare-stemmed
vines going up the tree. But all these cases I would suggest are more
for travelling purposes and not habitations. I'll be interested to
hear input from others.


From: "Alistair Hay" <ajmhay at hotmail.com> on 2007.02.09 at 05:19:11(15261)
I have seen this in shingling juvenile Pothos in Borneo, but whether the relationship is mutualistic I have no idea: nor aware of any research having been done... Again Peter is needed for an Old World answer!

From: "Peter Boyce" <botanist at malesiana.com> on 2007.02.09 at 10:58:12(15267)
Pothos subgenus Allopothos contains
several species with shingling habit (notably in Sarawak P. barberianus
and P. ovatifolius). While I have sometimes (and on occasion
memorably painfully) met with species harbouring ants (sometimes semut api -
fire ants) under the leaves it does not seem to be an obligate symbiosis in
action; in part it seems that species that are obligate symbionts have the
shingle-leaves somewhat convex in relation to the climbing surface, thus
providing a 'home' for the ants whereas these Pothos are all mainly
closely pressed to the climbing surface and only ocasionally are the leaves
sifficiently convex to enable ants to inhabit beneath them.

For the record the juvenile of Rhaphidophora
korthalsii, R. tenuis and R. beccarii are shingle-plants
and R. latevaginata remains shingling throughout its entire life also
occasionally harbour ants, as, too, does R. korthalsii and R.
tenuis in the dense fibrous degraded cataphylls, prophylls and petiolar
sheathes that clothe the active shoot tips.


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