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Antrophyum lanceolatum

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Pteridaceae. E.D.M. Kirchn. (E.D.M. Kirchner.) in Schul-Botanik, oder, Kurze Naturgeschichte der Pflanzen überhaupt p109. (1831). (Schul-Bot.) Not yet digitised.


Antrophyum Kaulf. (Georg Friedrich Kaulfuss) in Enumeratio Filicum 197, p282. (1824). (Enum. Filic.), not yet digitised.


Antrophyum lanceolatum (L.) Kaulf. In Enumeratio Filicum p198. (1824). (Enum. Filic.)

Basionym. Hemionitis lanceolata L. (Carl von Linnaeus) in Species Plantarum 2: p1077. (1753). (Sp. Pl.) https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/359098#page/519/mode/1up

Habit This Neotropical epiphytic fern species creates fibrous root masses that are used by ants especially the species Pheidole flavens for nesting.

Ecology/Inbiota. “(W)e found that 62% of the sampled individuals of the epiphytic fern A. lanceolatum (Fig. 1a) harbored the ant species P. flavens in their rhizome mats (Fig. 1b,c). In larger fern individuals, these rhizome nests can contain over 100 individual ants and become filled with ant wastes.”  N contribution was considerable.” “Results from the two-end-member mixing model suggest that, on average, ant debris contributed 54.1% (45.6–62.6%) of the N budget of the plant.”. Ants mediate nitrogen relations of an epiphytic fern, pp forum 1-4, New Phytologist (2008) https://www.catherinecardelus.com/2008-watkins-et-al-new.pdf www.newphytologist.org

Range. Widespread from Mexico, Caribbean, Central America and Northern South America. http://legacy.tropicos.org/Name/26607001?tab=distribution

I thank Philpatrick for providing the heads up to this new addition to THE BOOK.


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How to be led up the garden path.  The name Antrophyum lanceolatum seemed familiar to me so I checked the index of my book but it was not listed there. I was therfore led to think that here was a new addition to the world of Epiphytic Myrmecophytes. However, I had already found and written about it under its correct name.   

Polytaenium feei (W. Schaffn. ex Fée) Maxon (William Ralph Maxon) in Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands 6, p405. (1926.) (Sci. Surv. Porto Rico & Virgin Islands) Basionym Antrophyum feei W. Schaffn. ex Fée (Johann Wilhelm (Guillermo) Schaffner ex Antoine Laurent Apollinaire Fée.

Synonyms. Polytaenium lanceolatum (L.) Benedict (Ralph Curtiss Benedict) in Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 38, p169. (1911) (Bull. Torrey Bot. Club.) Also, Antrophyum lanceolatum (L.) Kaulf. With the basionym of Hemionitis lanceolata L. (Carl von Linnaeus) a nomen illegitimum in Species Plantarum 2, p1077. (1753) (Sp. Pl.) Thus, all names based on this basionym are nomenclaturally illegal. https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/359098#page/519/mode/1up

Ecology. Although not strictly myrmecodomic, a study in Puerto Rica confirmed that this species benefited from the intimate presence of Pheidole flavens ants. Use of stable isotopes recorded increased nitrogen intake via roots from ant wastes. Watkins et al. (2008) as Antrophyum lanceolatum. Ants mediate nitrogen relations of an epiphytic fern. New Phytol. 180, pp5-8.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Of course, what I should have done was to search for Antrophyum lanceolatum in the fern section of by E/book, which I would have found listed as a synonym under Polytaenium feei. Thus, saving me a few hours of work.  Yes, I certainly cannot remember every name let alone the many details I have added to this large database.

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Yeah, I hadn't checked your book for it. Maybe I should have because I didn't know you were going to create a new entry. I could have caught that for you. For future reference I will reference it in the future. It shows that you've done a thorough job with your book. I shared the link because it was fascinating. I mainly find it interesting because this fern can get so much nutrition from the ants wouthout having much to offer the ants in exchange. Some of these plant names can change so much. The same plant with a different name. It helps to have a resource that lists the synonym, basionym etc. I like the research article. The research was performed under the name Antrophyum lanceolatum, It is evidence that there are many more unknown mutualistic relationships between ants and plants.

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