Hoverflies can sense the risk of being trapped by carnivorous plants: An empirical study using Sphaerophoria menthastri and Drosera toyoakensis

Kazuki Tagawa, Mikio Watanabe, Tetsukazu Yahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Carnivorous plants are major predators of small insects in some habitats. Because traps of carnivorous plants are serious threats for small insects, it is probable to evolve a mechanism to sense a cue of carnivorous plants and avoid being trapped. However, such a sensing behavior of small insects has never been described. Here we report that a hoverfly species Sphaerophoria menthastri, a major pollinator species of carnivorous sundew Drosera toyoakensis, exhibits a behavior to sense a cue of trap leaves and avoids landing there. In a quadrat (5 m × 5 m) where D. toyoakensis and other non-carnivorous plant species co-occur, we observed behaviors of hoverflies approaching D. toyoakensis and other plants. The numbers of approaches to trap leaves, flowers of D. toyoakensis, flowers of non-carnivorous Lysimachia fortunei and leaves of Poaceae and Cyperaceae were 9, 60, 52 and 54, respectively, and the numbers of landings to those four organs were 2, 55, 49 and 49, respectively. When S. menthastri approached trap leaves, almost all individuals successfully avoided landing there by 1 or 2 hesitation behaviors. These findings suggest that S. menthastri can sense the cue of trap leaves during an approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-946
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Asia-Pacific Entomology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Insect Science

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