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Microsorum musifolium the Crocodile Fern.

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Microsorum musifolium Copeland, the Crocodile Fern is another form of humus impounder.  It so frequently has ant colonies living in plant detritus trapped by its thickly clustered roots that it is possibly an ant symbiont if only of generalist species.

  The genus Microsorum was validly published in 1833 but it is often spelt incorrectly as Microsorium a word that is no more than a typographical error made later in the pages of the original botanical description.  Unless special dispensation from the world taxonomic authority is sought and granted, the very first validly published name always takes precedence over any later synonyms (duplicated names.)

  Range: Burma, far southern Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, Philippines, New Guinea and Eastern Australia.

Trapping organic debris within thickly clustered roots or stolons is an adaptation common to numerous plant species especially ferns and orchids and these humus reserves are often converted by ants into nests; indeed, some ant and plant species have taken this adaptation much further as we will see in unusually complex arboreal communities called ant gardens.


I have yet to photograph this species.

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