Learn from the bog
We recently discovered a new item on the menu for the carnivorous pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea). While capturing vertebrates was previously thought to be “accidental”, juvenile spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) are falling victim to the plant’s watery trap by the dozens and may be an important nutrient pulse for this population of pitcher plants in Algonquin Park
We are working to better understand: How salamanders are so attracted to these cup-shaped leaves? How important a source of salamander mortality are these meat-eating plants? How much nutrition to the plants gain from their salamander meals? These are the questions we need to answer in order to unravel this surprising source of salamander mortality and plant nutrition.