Why the pitcher of <em>Cephalotus</em> is such a good trap
Sherwin Carlquist Santa Barbara California USA
To see why the pitcher of Cephalotus is such a good trap, let's look at a section of the pitcher, starting at the top. At the top, we see a piece of the lid. Then, not far below, the reddish-purple mouth. It not only has slippery surfaces, it has some tiny downwardly-pointing teeth arching over the pitcher, so that an insect tends to return to the pitcher rather than escapee from it. And then, below that, there's one more device to keep an insect inside--a second rim.
Below that, the purple and whitish surfaces of the pitcher are difficult for an insect to climb. It an insect isn't caught immediately by the pool, it will tend to buzz around in the pitcher, fooled by the "windows" in the lid, and will probably fail to climb out and will tire enough so that eventually it will fall into the liquid pool at the bottom of the pitcher.