Logo du projet pour le Biodôme de Montréal See more of the Virtual Museum of Canada

Image: epiphyte growing on a tree
epiphyte growing on a tree

Life inside epiphytes

Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants, although they are not parasites.

Image: Bromeliad

Bromeliads, also called “vase” or “urn” plants, are epiphytes.

The largest bromeliads can hold several litres of water in their funnel-shaped centres.

The centres of these plants are teeming with life: they are their own tiny ecosystems.

Image: Aechmea recurvata>
Aechmea recurvata>

Ants, birds and bats may eat these plants’ leaves, flower stems, nectar, pollen and seeds.

Centipedes, scorpions, cockroaches, ants, snakes, salamanders and lizards all hide in their long, narrow leaves.

Image: ant, scorpion, salamander, cockroache
ant, scorpion, salamander, cockroache

Image: epiphyte

Amphibians reproduce in the centre of the plant, where water accumulates.

Image: dendrobatidae frog
dendrobatidae frog

About 500 species of aquatic organisms live in this ecosystem.

Most freshwater invertebrates can be found inside bromeliads, from worms to snails, crabs, dragonflies, flies, beetles and mosquito larvae.

For more information:
Life inside epiphytes | Biological pest control | Danger! Mercury rising! | Descriptive records

 Back: ecosystems  Tropical Forest    
 First impressions  Bats: A family portrait A multi-layered forest Water dwellers
Home   Français   Comments   Credits   Biodôme Website    © Biodôme de Montréal, 2005. All rights reserved