Data from: Keeping an eye on coloration: ecological correlates of the evolution of pitcher traits in the genus Nepenthes (Caryophyllales)
Gilbert, Kadeem J.; Nitta, Joel H.; Talavera, Gerard; Pierce, Naomi E. (2017), Data from: Keeping an eye on coloration: ecological correlates of the evolution of pitcher traits in the genus Nepenthes (Caryophyllales), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m5ct8
Nepenthes is a genus of carnivorous pitcher plants with high intra- and interspecific morphological diversity. Many species produce dimorphic pitchers, and the relative production rate of the two morphs varies interspecifically. Despite their likely ecological importance to the plants, little is known about the selective context under which various pitcher traits have evolved. This is especially true of color-related traits, which have not been examined in a phylogenetic context. Using field observations of one polymorphic species (N. gracilis) and phylogenetic comparative analysis of 85 species across the genus, we investigate correlations between color polymorphism and ecological factors including altitude, light environment, and herbivory. In N. gracilis, color does not correlate to amount of prey-capture, but red pitchers experience less herbivory. Throughout the genus, color polymorphism with redder lower pitchers appears to be evolutionarily favored. We found a lack of phylogenetic signal for most traits, either suggesting that most traits are labile or reflecting the uncertainty regarding the underlying tree topology. This work highlights ecological correlates of the vast phenotypic diversity of this group of tropical plants. We point to a need for future work examining herbivores of Nepenthes and experimental investigations on color polymorphism.