Herbivory on giant leaves

Title Info
Common name Umbrella plant, Dos amigos
Scientific name Gunnera insignis
Taxonomic group Gunneraceae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Nutrient cycles Carbon
Ecological interactions Herbivory
Lessons Herbivory
Date 1988
Location Monteverde,Costa Rica,North America

Herbivory on giant Gunnera leaves, Costa Rica. The massive leaves of the Gunnera plant can be well over 1 yd (1 m) across, and they are tough and stiff enough that they can be used as umbrellas in a tropical downpour. In fact, the leaves are so large that two friends can fit under a single leaf, hence the plant's common name, "dos amigos." The leaf material itself is coarse and rough, and it must be very difficult to make a meal of it. One biologist theorized that leaf cutter ants may have been responsible for the herbivory on the leaves on the right.