Common Name: Lampera de la Selva

Latin Name: Catopsis berteroniana


Family: Bromeliaceae

Range: From the Southern tip of Florida through the Central Americas into as far south as Brazil and Venezuela.

Abundance: In La Selva this plant was seen everywhere. A strong epiphyte the plant enjoys tree branches with abundant sunlight from tree gaps.

Coloration: A yellow green that seems to be florescent with the combination of UV rays. A quality that may be associated with its ability to capture insects.

Morphology: This rosette shaped plant contains a water basin that becomes a reservoir for the plant. This reservoir also plays a role in the plants carnivorous nature as it contains enzymes to digest leaf litter and other insects that fall into the basin. The leaves contain a powdery cuticle lining that create a slick surface in order for insects to be collected into the basin. 124.JPG

Reproductive cycle: This flowering plant has a stalk that shoots up from the center in order to spread seeds to other neighboring epiphytes using vectors such as wind and birds.

Habitat: Tall trees. They prefer branches with sunlight gaps. They have also been found on telephone poles, though I did not see any in Costa Rica.

Diet: A variety of non-aquatic insects and other pieces of organic matter that fall into its basin.

Interactions with other Species: The basin within this bromeliad contains bacteria and fungi that help decompose the organic matter it collects. But this bromeliad is also a home for aquatic larvae such as wyeomyia vanduzeei.

Personal Experience: After a strong rain storm during the night, this plant was seen everywhere on the forest floor. It is likely the strong winds or large amounts of rainfall played a role into the falling of this plant from the trees it was situated in. These plants are so adapted to their tree environment that once they have fallen off the tree they they are likely not to survive.