04/29/02 - Florida's Rare Bromeliads in Danger

Contact: Dr. Howard Frank
Department of Entomology and Nematology
University of Florida

The Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park is Florida's richest center of epiphyte biodiversity and home to the state's rarest species of bromeliads (Catopsis berteroniana, Catopsis floribunda, Catopsis nutans, Guzmania monostachia, Tillandsia flexuosa, Tillandsia pruinosa). Eleven of Florida's sixteen species of native bromeliads (airplants) are at risk from attack by Mexican bromeliad weevil (Metamasius callizona), and all are found in the Fakahatchee Strand. Ten of the eleven species are endangered or threatened. Catopsis nutans is found nowhere else in Florida, and several other rare bromeliads are found in few places outside of the Fakahatchee Strand.

The risk for these rare native plants has now intensified, because Metamasius callizona has been found recently in the center of the Fakahatchee Strand. In addition to Tillandsia utriculata, which has been listed as endangered because of weevil attack, the weevil was found on Guzmania monostachia, whose only significant populations remaining in Florida are in the Fakahatchee Strand.

For more information on the effects of the weevil on Florida's native bromeliads, see: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/frank/bromeliadbiota/wvbrom.htm .

For information on Florida's bromeliads see: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/frank/bromeliadbiota/ .

For the Featured Creature publication on the Mexician bromeliad weevil see: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/m_callizona.htm .

The UF/IFAS Pest Alert WWW site is at: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/pestalert/