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No. 99 April 13, 1995
aceska at freenet.victoria.bc.ca Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
POISON VINE FOOLS GIANT BUTTERFLY
From: New Scientist, 25 March 1995, p.11 (by Ian Anderson)
Australia's largest butterfly, the Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera
priamus), could be driven to extinction because it is laying its
eggs on the wrong vine. The butterfly, which can have a wingspan
of more than 18 cm, is being fooled into believing that a vine
imported from Brazil for the nursery trade is the native vine on
which it has always laid its eggs. When the caterpillars emerge
and begin to eat the leaves, they are poisoned by a powerful
toxin. The Cairns Birdwing is found in northern Queensland
between Mackay and Cape York. In some areas near Townsville the
butterfly's population has plummeted to 20 per cent of its
former level. A second species, the Richmond Birdwing (Ornitho-
ptera richmondii) is also falling victim to the vine.
The various species of Birdwing, which are found in Southeast
Asia, Papua New Guinea, northeast Australia and the Solomon
Islands, all feed on local species of the vine Aristolochia. But
in Australia, instead of sticking to the native A. tagala and A.
praevenosa they are also lured onto an introduced species called
Dutchman's Pipe (Aristolochia elegans), imported from Brazil.
But the Dutchman's Pipe contains an unidentified compound which
is highly toxic. The sheep have died after eating the plant, and
the toxin is taking its toll on at least two other species of
butterfly -- the Big Greasy (Cressida cressida) and the Red-
bodied Swallowtail (Pachliopta polydorus).
A number of measures are being taken to save Birdwings. In
Townsville, local people are being urged to rip out the imported
vine from their gardens and replace it with native plants.
Native plants are also being planted in reserves and nature
parks. Nurseries are being asked to stop selling the import.
Dutchman's Pipe is a very aggressive plant, and the native
species cannot compete with it in wild.
CARNIVOROUS PLANT DATABASE - CALL FOR PAPERS
From: Jan Schlauer <zxmsl01 at student.uni-tuebingen.de>, and
Rick Walker <walker at cutter.hpl.hp.com>
Although carnivorous plants represent a comparatively small
segment within the vast field of botany, they still generate
intense interest from professional botanists and amateur plant
enthusiasts alike. This is partly due to the great beauty of
these plants and also to their startling mode of heterotrophic
The novelty of these plants makes them an ideal vehicle for
introducing botany to young children. Because many carnivorous
plants are endangered, they can also help in informing the
public about environmental and ecological concerns. However, in
the past, a lack of reliable information about these plants has
hampered their educational potential.
CARNIVOROUS PLANT DATABASE - History and present status
As a result of ongoing, lively discussions in the internet
carnivorous plant mailing list , it became clear that there
was both a demand, and sufficient expertise, to establish an
electronic database representing as much of the present
knowledge about carnivorous plants as possible.
A comprehensive synonym checklist and bibliographic database of
scientific names already existed , so it was decided to
install a world wide web page to allow searches in this check-
list by a hypertext browser . Through the kind support of
Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, the necessary hardware and storage
capacity were supplied free of charge.
The database has been running since November 15, 1994, having
received (and hopefully answered satisfactorily) nearly 4000
queries from over 850 sites, worldwide.
With the database framework in place, we are working to incor-
porate various supplementary data. This new information is
cross-referenced to both the taxonomic list entries and to other
relevant information. Already included in the database are
pictures, identification keys, and supplementary textual infor-
mation for selected taxa.
The data formats will be held in conformity with TDWG and other
biodiversity data standards so that information exchange with
related databasing projects will be as convenient as possible.
In a monographing project initiated by the German carnivorous
plant society (GFP), a topical outline was developed to help
organize the presentation and collection of information from
CALL FOR PAPERS - Which kind of input is needed?
We invite contributions to any/all of the following:
1. Species monograph texts or relevant data.
These should be held in conformity with the standard GFP
monograph framework, trying to cover as many of the topics
mentioned therein (see below). All interested parties are
cordially invited to become monographers in this project.
Monographers will be cited not only as authors in the
database (also intended to be issued on CD-ROM periodically)
but also as authors in a printed version thereof. The
printed version of the database is planned to be a con-
tinuously updated (by new editions or separate supplements)
manual on carnivorous plants.
Some experience in Botany -especially in carnivorous plants-
would be beneficial, but principally all persons with suffi-
cient interest are welcome. The following species are
covered by forthcoming monographs already:
Sarracenia purpurea, Drosophyllum lusitanicum, Dionaea
muscipula, Drosera anglica, D.capensis, D.intermedia,
D.regia, D.rotundifolia, Nepenthes distillatoria,
N.khasiana, N.madagascariensis, N.masoalensis, N.pervillei,
Pinguicula agnata, P.alpina, P.esseriana, P.gypsicola,
P.rotundiflora, P.vulgaris, Genlisea glabra, Utricularia
australis, U.bremii, U.gibba, U.intermedia, U.minor,
Monograph topical outline (extracted from GFP framework. For
a full listing please contact Jan Schlauer:
o Taxonomy & Nomenclature (covered by checklist already)
o Systematics & Evolution
o Description & Variability
o Habitats & Distribution
o Physiology & Ecology
o Uses & Cultivation
o Literature References
2. High quality reference pictures
These should be scanned photographs or line drawings,
preferably of the less known, and not yet satisfactorily
covered species. For image formats and further information
please contact Rick Walker.
3. Identification keys.
4. All further kinds of tips, hints, FAQs, slide presentations,
etc., to be linked into the database.
A great many experts who could share their knowledge are already
connected to the internet (the number increasing daily), and we
would be very happy if some of this expertise could be utilized
for the carnivorous plant database.
Thank you for your consideration and (hopefully) contributions!
For further information, please contact:
Jan Schlauer <zxmsl01 at studserv.zdv.uni-tuebingen.de> or
Rick Walker <walker at cutter.hpl.hp.com>
 List address: "cp at opus.hpl.hp.com". Subscribe by sending
email, the body consisting of the single line: "SUB CP
Your_first_name Your_last_name" (no apostrophs) to the
address: "listserv at opus.hpl.hp.com".
 SCHLAUER, Nomenclatural Synopsis of Carnivorous Phanero-
gamous Plants, Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 15 (3&4),
 WALKER, Carnivorous Plant Home Page, 1994,
PRESERVING THE RECORD OF NATURE THROUGH COUNTLESS AGES
From: Ann Pinzl <pinzl at scs.unr.edu>
The 10th annual meeting of the Society for the Preservation of
Natural History Collections (SPNHC) will be hosted by the Royal
Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 2-6 June 1995. Everyone
is encouraged to submit papers and posters on natural history
collection management issues for consideration. Meeting ac-
tivities include oral and poster presentations, vendor displays,
WORKSHOP - Managing the Modern Herbarium The SPNHC Education and
Training Committee in conjunction with the ROM Department of
Botany is offering its first discipline- specific workshop, June
5-6. This program is intended for herbarium managers and
curators, researchers, and all others interested in the preser-
vation, care, maintenance and use of collections of plants and
fungi. Many topics to be presented here are applicable to all
Monday: Preventive Conservation in the Herbarium Case studies,
panel presentations and discussion will be among the formats
used to explore preventive conservation in the modern herbarium.
Among the topics to be covered: conservation standards; building
design and environment; viable options for integrated pest
management control; choices of papers, adhesives, inks and
plastic products; and a review of available resources on preven-
tive conservation and collections care.
Monday evening: Herbarium Information Bazaar - will provide an
opportunity for interaction among workshop participants and
speakers. The conservators and consultants who will be par-
ticipating in the day's session on Herbarium Conservation will
be on hand with demonstration materials, and to answer questions
about papers, adhesives, plastic products, pest control, inks,
humidity control, or renovation and design. Suppliers will also
be there to discuss and display archival and other herbarium
Tuesday: Contemporary Issues Facing Herbaria Bar Coding: Stand-
ards for Systematic Collections. The results of a survey con-
ducted for the Taxonomic Databases Working Group on the use of
bar codes in systematic collections will be presented. Recommen-
dations for bar-coding specifications, interpretation and stand-
ardization will be made.
Destructive Sampling and Molecular Systematics: Are we moving
toward a consensus? Discussion will focus on the issues related
to the expanding role of destructive sampling of herbarium
specimens: what is the current state of technologies; estab-
lishing guidelines for sampling, for documentation, and optimal
retention of data; how can molecular systematics and herbaria
mutually benefit from new roles for preserved specimens; how can
we best address issues of DNA storage and availability?
For an information packet about the meeting and workshop, in-
cluding registration forms, contact:
SPNHC '95 Conference
Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queens Park
CANADA M5S 2C6
Janet Waddington, SPNHC'95 Committee Chair
(tel: 416-586-5593; FAX: 416-586-5863; email: janetw at rom.on.ca)