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we discovered plants eating vertebrates in @Algonquin_PP. WHAT! Undergraduate field course obs helped 2 document this 1st.

COOL, u say, but likely rare & uncommon? NO! Subsequent survey finds ~20% of pitcher plants contained salamanders!


In Aug 2018, I taught a field course in @Algonquin_PP at the @AlgonquinWRS. In preparing students 2 discover the wonderful world of #bogs, I turned up several pitcher plants to show them – and in one found a young juvenile yellow spotted salamander!!
"Well that’s surprising" I said. (on the day it may have sounded like #WTF. I took some photos – tweeted them – and thought I'll have to check the literature to see if this strange thing has been seen before – write a note if not.

During the field course, Patrick Moldowan arrived back at WRS and we chatted about the #planteatingsalamander story at the picnic tables behind the cookhouse over supper. Salamanders often come up in conversation with Patrick!
For me, that picnic table conversation was the start of tons of neat ideas, hypotheses and this paper. Patrick makes the connection that in 2017’s #FieldEcology field course a student had also found a salamander in a pitcher plant.
We decided that more needed to be done! Hannah, a student on the 2018 course was fascinated with the pitcher plants and worked on them for her research project. She uncovered more cases of salamanders in plants. The freq of this #planteatingsalamander is becoming fascinating!
To me, the icing on the cake for this story when Patrick returns to WRS in the late summer and surveyed all the plants to reveal ~20% of them held at least one salamander. (for me - the second #WTF moment).
Moral of the story (so far). Slow down, look down (often), and don’t ignore the “common” things. Sometimes, they will surprise you.

Now that the #bog has taught us this story - so many more questions to ask! Watch the Patrick Moldowan space for answers!
Want to explore yourself? Here's a hi-rez #GigaPan panorama we took of the bog where the #planteatingsalamander live!


In it – you can see some of the pitcher plants gigapan.com/gigapans/21074…

as well as other sp carnivorous plants gigapan.com/gigapans/21074…
And finally - the job for all #bog walkers! Peer in pitcher plants (gently, and especially in late summer when the metamorphs emerge). Help us to figure out how widespread/common the #planteatingsalamander phenomena actually is!
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