This Bizarre Carnivorous Plant Captures Prey Underground

Tech News

Venus flytraps and other insect-ingesting plants clearly show just how wild botany can be. A newly described species of pitcher plant from the island of Borneo is shaking up what experts know about carnivorous plants. 

Like some others of its form, Nepenthes pudica has leaves shaped like pitchers that capture unsuspecting prey, such as beetles and ants. What is various is exactly where it does its eating.

“In a system so much unidentified from any other species of carnivorous plant with pitfall traps, this 1 operates underground, catching its prey in the soil,” claimed Pensoft Publishers in a statement on Wednesday. A group led by scientists at Palacky University in the Czech Republic printed a paper on the plant in the Pensoft journal PhytoKeys last 7 days. 

Nepenthes pudica grows its pitchers in underground cavities.

Martin Dancak

The pitchers perform as lures, engaging bugs to the edge the place they drop in and are then digested to feed the plant.

The scientists initially spotted the vegetation in 2012 imagining they were lacking their pitchers, but a likelihood disturbance of moss all over a tree foundation disclosed the hidden parts. A search turned up other specimens, all with the similar underground behaviors.

The plant’s strange development styles may possibly be due to its locale on dry ridge tops. “We hypothesize that underground cavities have a lot more secure environmental situations, such as humidity, and there is presumably also more possible prey during dry durations,” claimed study co-writer Michal Golos from the University of Bristol.

The researchers haven’t uncovered the plants’ correct places in buy to avert poaching. They hope the plant will increase awareness of habitat reduction as Bornean rainforests are turned into oil palm plantations. Claimed examine co-creator Wewin Tjiasmanto, “This discovery is vital for nature conservation in Indonesian Borneo, as it emphasizes its importance as a world biodiversity hotspot.” 

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