Utricularia gibba L., 1753
Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Myanmar ; locality: Shan State; Inlay lake, Nyanug She Township ; verbatimLatitude: 16° 53' 19" N; verbatimLongitude: 95° 52' 29" E; Event: eventDate: Dec. 3, 2008 ; Record Level: collectionID: Tanaka et al. 080639; institutionCode: TI
Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Myanmar ; locality: Tenasserim Division, Tawer District, Yebyu Township, Kan Bank Village area, coastal region ; verbatimLatitude: 12° 5' 11" N; verbatimLongitude: 99° 0' 51" E; Event: eventDate: Mar. 2, 1996 ; Record Level: collectionID: J.F. Maxwell 96-335; institutionCode: BKF
Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Songkla Province; Talae Noi waterfowl reserve ; verbatimLatitude: 7° 15' N; verbatimLongitude: 100° 26' 16" E; Event: eventDate: Dec. 28, 1978 ; Record Level: collectionID: G. Congdon, C. Hamilton 159; institutionCode: AAU
Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Lopburi Province; Supcham Pa Hill ; verbatimLatitude: 14° 50' N; verbatimLongitude: 100° 55' E; Event: eventDate: Nov. 19, 1984 ; Record Level: collectionID: G. Murata, C. Phengklai, S. Mitsuta, T. Yahara, H. Nagamasu, N. Nantasan T-50927; institutionCode: BKF
Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Chiang Mai Province; Doi Inthanon, near guest house ; verbatimLatitude: 18° 32' 55" N; verbatimLongitude: 98° 31' 29" E; Event: eventDate: Jul. 23, 1988 ; Record Level: collectionID: S. Tsugaru T-61738; institutionCode: BKF
Type status: Other material. Occurrence: recordedBy: Y. Ito ; Location: country: Thailand ; locality: Thathungna Dam, Kantchanabury ; verbatimLatitude: 14° 13' 53" N; verbatimLongitude: 99° 13' 44" E; Event: eventDate: Nov. 15, 2012 ; Record Level: collectionID: Y. Ito 1725; institutionCode: BKF
Bangladesh, China (nationwide), India (nationwide), Indonesia (nationwide), Japan, Malaysia (nationwide), Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Thailand,?Vietnam; Africa; Oceania; N. America; S. America.
- Ito, Yu, Barfod, Anders S. (2014): An updated checklist of aquatic plants of Myanmar and Thailand. Biodiversity Data Journal 2, 1019: 1019-1019, URL:http://dx.doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.2.e1019
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Global Range: Nova Scotia to Ontario and Minnesota, south to Florida, west to Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas; in the west, from British Columbia south to California (where it was probably introduced - Hickman 1993). Also in Mexico, Central and South America and the West Indies, including Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. Also in the Old World (Africa, Asia).
State - Kerala, District/s: Alappuzha, Kozhikkode, Kollam, Kottayam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kasaragode, Thrissur"
Distribution in Egypt
Libyan Desert Oases, Nubian Desert Oases.
Portugal, Spain, North and tropical Africa, Madagascar, tropical Asia, northern Australia, New Zealand.
Leaves alternate, all bearing bladders, without inflated petioles, branching mostly once (U. gibba sensu stricto, excluding U. biflora) or twice (sensu lato, including U. biflora), the ultimate segments terete and filiform. Corolla yellow, lower lip little if any longer than the upper. Flowers 1-3 (excluding U. biflora) or 1-4 (including U. biflora) per scape. Plant aquatic. See Radford et al. (1968), Gleason and Cronquist (1991), Great Plains Flora Association (1986).
Comments: Utricularia gibba and U. biflora: Shallow water: pools, ponds, ditches, canals, springheads (Fernald 1950, Gleason and Cronquist 1991, Godfrey and Wooten 1981, Great Plains Flora Association 1986, Hough 1983, Radford et al. 1968, Steyermark 1963). U. biflora also reported from swamps (Godfrey and Wooten 1981) and U. gibba from bogs (Fernald 1950, Hough 1983) and sloughs (Steyermark 1963). In Missouri, Steyermark (1963) writes of U. gibba, "often found floating in masses on mucky debris and organic detritus on the surface of upland sink-hole ponds in the Ozarks". In Puerto Rico, U. gibba is found "creeping on the bottom in shallow water at low elevations" (Liogier and Martorell 1982). In California (where it may be exotic) U. gibba is uncommon, occurring in shallow water and mud, below 1600 meters (Hickman 1993).
Habitat and Ecology
Ditches and springs.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Life History and Behavior
Annual or perennial.
Reproduction is sexual, from perfect flowers. The flowers display specialization for insect pollination (Proctor and Yeo 1973). The seeds are probably water-dispersed.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Utricularia gibba
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Utricularia gibba
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure
Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread from tropical America, including the Caribbean, to southeastern Canada; also in the Old World. Common in parts of its range.
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Biological Research Needs: Sort out (understand) the current taxonomy: Kartesz (1994, 1999) lists U. biflora Lam., U. obtusa Sw., and U. pumila Walt. as synonyms of this species. (1) U. biflora has been treated separately in somewhat recent floras, but also as a synonym of U. gibba (Diggs et al. 1999; Wunderlin 1998; Hickman 1993). (2) The identity of U. pumila may be in question: Fernald (1950) listed it as a possible synonym of U. biflora; in other floras the name is variously given as a synonym of U. biflora (Gleason 1952; Radford et al. 1968; Godfrey and Wooten 1981), or U. gibba (Kartesz; Wunderlin 1998; Correll and Correll 1982), or U. fibrosa Walt. (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). (3) The latter is maintained as a separate species from U. gibba by Kartesz (1994) and some other authors, but considered another synonym in Kartesz (1999) and Hickman (1993). Liogier (1995, 2000) maintains U. obtusa, citing as a synonym U. gibba sensu P. Taylor (1964) pro parte, non Linnaeus (1753).
Utricularia gibba is an aquatic carnivorous plant that belongs to the genus Utricularia, or bladderworts. The specific epithet gibba is Latin for "hump" or "swelling" – a reference to the inflated base of the lower lip of the corolla. It is a small- to medium-sized aquatic plant that can either be affixed to the substrate in shallow water or free-floating in the water column, however it will likely flower more if supported by a substrate beneath shallow water. It forms mats of criss-crossing, branching, thread-like stolons, each growing to approximately 20 cm (8 in) long or longer and 0.2-1 mm thick. What are sometime described as leaves or leaf-like organs – the actual distinction is difficult in the reduced morphology – are numerous and scattered along the length of the stolons and are 0.5–1.5 cm (0.2–0.6 in) long with a very short dichotomous branching pattern toward the tip of anywhere from one to eight branches but usually not more than four. The bladder traps take the place of some of these distal branches on the leaf-like structures. The traps are ovoid and are attached to the leaf-like structure by a short stalk; each trap is 1–2.5 mm long and has two primary setiform branched appendages on top and some smaller appendages surrounded the entrance to the trap. The appendages are the trigger that sets the trap off and vacuums the prey that touched it into the bladder to be digested.
Inflorescences are erect and typically emerge from the water to about 20 cm (8 in) tall, though in some cases they can be submerged and produce cleistogamous flowers. Inflorescences can produce anywhere from one to twelve flowers but it is unusual to see anything other than two to six flowers per inflorescence. Individual flowers are yellow, often with reddish-brown nerves, and are split into two lips: the upper lip is almost circular and weakly separated into three lobes while the lower lip is slightly smaller, also circular, and has a rounded, bilobed swelling in the center. The spur is narrowly conical or cylindrical and curves down below the flower, varying in length from being just shorter than to noticeably longer than the lower lip. Utricularia gibba will flower throughout the year whenever conditions are favorable. Flowers, specifically the corolla, vary in size across this species' large distribution from 0.8 to 1.5 cm (0.3 to 0.6 in).
Utricularia gibba has a vast geographic range and occurs naturally in the USA (all states except Alaska and the Rocky mountain states), Canada, Central and South America, Spain, Israel, most of Africa, most of Asia including China and Japan, New Guinea, Australia and Tasmania and the North Island of New Zealand. It grows in ponds and lakes or shallow water in ditches, pools, bogs, swamps, and marshes that may be still or slowly flowing. It can sometimes be found growing in deep water but will not flower unless the inflorescences are supported near the surface by living or dead vegetation. The waters in which it grows are typically poor in available phosphorus and nitrogen. It satisfies its nutrient requirements by capturing and digesting small aquatic prey – usually small invertebrates – in its bladder structures. Utricularia gibba is typically found growing at lower altitudes but can be found as high as 2,500 m (8,200 ft).
In 2013, the genome of U. gibba was sequenced. At only 82 megabases, the genome is exceptionally small for a multicellular plant. Despite its size, the genome accommodates 28,500 genes – more than plants with much larger genomes. The main difference between other plant genomes and that of U. gibba is a drastic reduction in non-coding DNA. Only 3% of the plant's DNA is not part of a gene or material that controls those genes, in contrast to human DNA which is 98.5% non-coding. Retrotransposons, which dominate the DNA of most flowering plants, make up just 2.5% of U. gibba's DNA. The discovery casts doubt on the idea that repetitive, non-coding DNA, popularly known as junk DNA, is necessary for life. "At least for a plant, junk DNA really is just junk – it's not required," declares study co-author Victor Albert. T. Ryan Gregory who studies the evolution of genome sizes said "The study further challenges simplistic accounts of genome biology that assume functions for most or all DNA sequences, without addressing the enormous variability in genome size among plants and animals."
Utricularia gibba and the tomato split from a common ancestor approximately 87 million years ago. Since that time, both plants have experienced episodes of whole genome duplication (WGD) in which the plants' DNA content doubled in size. Utricularia gibba experienced at least three cycles of increasing genome size. Since then, it has lost most unneeded DNA, unlike the tomato, and now has a genome only a tenth as long as the tomato's.
Compared to Arabidopsis, the introns of Utricularia gibba are somewhat fewer in number per gene, and conserved cis-acting elements of its promoters are compressed. Most critical genes have returned to single copy status. However, the mitochondrial and plastid genomes of U. gibba do not appear to be compressed relative to those of other angiosperms. The compression of its nuclear DNA is thought to have occurred via both numerous microdeletions and some large-scale recombinant deletions. It is hypothesized that a "sloppy" recombination process has caused unused material to be deleted over time. The presence of numerous GC-rich sequences throughout the nuclear genome of U. gibba is considered to have created a molecular mechanistic bias in favor of deletions, but this does not preclude the presence of a selection pressure to preserve such deletions. Selection pressures in favor of conserving energy or conserving phosphorus have been suggested to be operative in the reduction of the nuclear genome size of U. gibba. Trap formation is induced in U. gibba by low phosphorus but not low nitrogen, indicating that phosphorus availability is more limiting in its environment. It had also been previously proposed that an increased mutation rate due to greater environmental mutagen exposure could have increased natural selection for loss of unneeded DNA, but no evidence for this was found in the relative mutational diversities of U. gibba and Arabidopsis.
Utricularia gibba has the reputation of being one of the easier aquatic bladderworts to grow, often being described as a weed in cultivation. In his 1998 book The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants, Peter D'Amato advised that successful cultivation could be achieved with U. gibba floating in a small cup or bowl, within waterlogged peat, or even among the water-filled trays of other plants. It can also easily be grown in aquaria.
- "Utricularia gibba". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
- New South Wales Flora Online: Utricularia gibba by R. Rowe & E. A. Brown, Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia.
- Ibarra-Laclette, E.; Lyons, E.; Hernández-Guzmán, G.; Pérez-Torres, C. A.; Carretero-Paulet, L.; Chang, T.-H.; Lan, T.; Welch, A. J.; Juárez, M. J. A.; Simpson, J.; Fernández-Cortés, A.; Arteaga-Vázquez, M.; Góngora-Castillo, E.; Acevedo-Hernández, G.; Schuster, S. C.; Himmelbauer, H.; Minoche, A. E.; Xu, S.; Lynch, M.; Oropeza-Aburto, A.; Cervantes-Pérez, S. A.; de Jesús Ortega-Estrada, M.a; Cervantes-Luevano, J. I.; Michael, T. P.; Mockler, T.; Bryant, D.s; Herrera-Estrella, A.; Albert, V. A.; Herrera-Estrella, L. (2013-05-12). "Architecture and evolution of a minute plant genome". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature12132. ISSN 0028-0836.
- Bruce Salmon (2001) "Carnivorous Plants of New Zealand" Ecosphere Publications
- Taylor, Peter. 1989. The genus Utricularia - a taxonomic monograph. Kew Bulletin Additional Series XIV: London. ISBN 978-0-947643-72-0
- Schnell, Donald. 2002. Carnivorous Plants of the United States and Canada. Timber Press: Portland, Oregon. pp. 369–370. ISBN 0-88192-540-3
- Ed Young (May 12, 2013). "Flesh-Eating Plant Cleaned Junk From Its Minimalist Genome". National Geography. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- "Worlds Record Breaking Plant: Deletes its Noncoding "Junk" DNA". Design & Trend. May 12, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
- Gabrielsen, Paul (12 May 2013). "ScienceShot: Carnivorous Plant Ejects Junk DNA". Science NOW. AAAS. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- D'Amato, Peter. 1998. The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, California. p. 231. ISBN 0-89815-915-6
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Following Kartesz (1999), this species includes the plants in some (earlier) works considered as the separate species Utricularia biflora. Kartesz (1999) also includes U. fibrosa Walt. (accepted as distinct in Kartesz (1994)), U. obtusa Sw. and U. pumila Walt and places U. fibrosa Britt in U. striata. The treatment in Weakley (2010 draft) includes U. fibrosa Walt. in U. striata and accepts U. biflora as distinct.
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