We evaluated the effect of arthropod presence on the growth of Tillandsia violacea in a Quercus spp.-Abies religiosa forest in Hidalgo, Mexico. We used 40 T. violacea individuals (<20 cm in diameter) attached to Quercus spp. trees. Insecticide was sprayed weekly on 20 plants during 1 y, another set of 20 plants located 100 m away were not sprayed. Both leaf number (N) and length (L) were recorded every 2 mo, and the foliar load was obtained. We found lower leaf production, leaf length, and foliar load in plants sprayed with insecticide than in nonsprayed plants. Our results show arthropod presence increases plant growth. We suggest this is due to the fragmentation activity of arthropods on litter, which promotes the decomposition process of the organic matter accumulated in epiphytes and increases nutrient release to the plant.
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Vol. 175 • No. 2