Big weekend

Action packed! Fun filled! Et cetera!

Saturday, off to S’s for a froggers BBQ. His frog room, known variously as the garagemahal, the frog bunker and the frog pit, is looking great. Got to see some Chrome/Sisa Ameerega bassleri among other lovely frogs.

Not a great picture, but a fantastic vivarium. The contrast between the red bromeliad and the yellow/orange/green/black Tarapota imitators was beautiful.

Saturday night some frog folk visiting from afar stayed at my place. We had a nice late dinner in Portsmouth. Luckily the dogs were on their best behavior Sunday morning and didn’t roust everyone at 5 AM (just me) – we’d had a late night; I had Sunday night to catch up on zzzs, but my guests would still be on their whirlwind tour.

Sunday saw us all down at Black Jungle in central Massachusetts for the New England Carnivorous Plant Society’s summer cookout. I scored some nice Nepenthes cuttings and a short conversation with Stewart McPherson!!! I gushed, he grinned and was gracious.

CP guru and fanboy.


Gorgeous N. hamata someone brought with them.


P.S. – Gang of Four’s Return the Gift gets two huge thumbs-up from me. I listened to it (at probably an unhealthy volume) on the drive Sunday. The redo of Entertainment! plus the remix CD – yowza. Think I’ll play a couple tracks again and scare the neighbors.

The problem of leisure
What to do for pleasure
Ideal love a new purchase
A market of the senses
Dream of the perfect life

(Wo)man Cub

A pretty little granddaughter appeared last night as if by magic. I can call it magic, since I wasn’t in the birthing room with my laboring daughter. Frances Mae M. (Frankie – though Scout may be used as a nickname, too) weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz. and is gorgeous.

Sequential leaves

One of my favorite group of carnivorous plants is the epiphytic Utricularia – the section Orchidioides. I have three specimens (still looking for the elusive jamesoniana – if you have any, I have a large division of humboldtii to trade). It struck me the other morning what a nice gradation of shape one sees in the leaves of my three:

U. humboldtii – a pretty fan.


U. reniformis – the fan is wide open!


U. nelumbifolia – the edges meet.

(In fact, some nelumbifolia leaves resemble reniformis – see this picture from

And nelumbifolia’s eponym, Nelumbo ‘Chawan Basu’.


All of the carnivores are loving the summer sun. My Brocchinia reducta are yellowing up nicely

and the Sarracenia alata are making lots of fresh new pitchers.

Carnivorous plant links

Lots of carnivorous plant news!

  • The description of a new species of Nepenthes from the Phillipines hit the news – it’s called N. attenboroughii (after Sir David) . One of the discoverers wrote the Tepui book I mentioned a while back.



  • Harvard’s Aaron Ellison and UVM’s Nicholas Gotelli are studying the ecosystems that function within sarracenia pitchers.

“You’ve got four or five trophic levels in a pitcher plant, just like you’ve got four or five trophic levels in a lake,” said Ellison.

Fly larvae are the top-level predator in the pitcher, the analogues of terrestrial tigers or wolves. They’re what ecologists call a “keystone” species, who control the abundance every other species, but require a habitat of sufficient size to support those other creatures.

  • What’s the more important lure – color or sugar? Looks like color is irrelevant – at least in S. purpurea.

The results suggest that nectar production is the crucial factor in determining prey capture success. Real pitcher plants and pseudo-pitchers trapped nearly identical numbers of prey—357 versus 344 insects, respectively—while pseudo-pitchers without nectar caught far less. Both the real plants and pseudo-pitchers with nectar caught mostly ants. That’s good for the plants, as ants provide a much larger quantity of nitrogen than flies on a per-weight basis. The pseudo-pitchers without nectar caught mostly springtails, a different kind of arthropod.

Most significantly, the proportion of visible red area had no impact on prey capture.