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Markea neurantha (1995)

Acrylic on illustration board
15" x 30"

Markea neurantha is the name given to this plant, a member of the nightshade family that grows as an epiphytic vine among the branches of moderately sized trees in Central American rainforests. Pollinated strictly by bats, it lowers its inflorescence on a yard-long "rope" to increase its chances of winding up in the open where the bats can reach it easily. One flower blooms at a time, opening at dusk and lasting but a few hours. This is sufficient though, for its sweet fragrance is irresistable to nectar-eating bats of the subfamily Glossophaginae. Here a pair of Lonchophylla robustum visit the flower. Other incidental animals are: a zephyr moth (Automeris zephyria), an emerald glass frog (Centrolonella prosoblepon) and a blunt-headed tree snake (Imantodes cenchoa).