Carnivorous plant that catches prey underground is the first of its kind to be discovered

Carnivorous plant that catches prey underground is the first of its kind to be discovered

Carnivorous plant that catches prey underground is the first of its kind to be discovered

Researchers have discovered a carnivorous plant that grows prey-catching objects and feeds on underground creatures such as worms, larvae and beetles. The newly discovered species of jug plants was unearthed in the Indonesian province of northern Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo. Like other pitcher plants, Nepenthes pudica has modified leaves, known as pitfalls or pitchers, into which its prey falls before being consumed. (One species is so large that it can catch rats.) No other species of jug plant known to science catches its prey underground. The plant forms specialized underground shoots with small, white, chlorophyll-free leaves, the researchers said. The jugs are much larger than the leaves and have a reddish color. “This species places its jugs up to 11 cm long (4.3 inches long) underground, where they form in cavities or directly in the ground and trap animals that live underground, usually ants, mites and beetles “, says lead author Martin Dančák from Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic, in a press release. Only three other groups of carnivorous plants are known to catch underground prey, but they all use very different catching mechanisms and, unlike Nepenthes pudica, they can only catch small organisms, the researchers said. “Interestingly, we found many organisms that live inside the jugs, including mosquito larvae, nematodes and a species of worm, which was also described as a new species “, said Václav Čermák from Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic, who was also part of the research group. Luck played a role in the discovery. The researchers noticed plants on the rock that they examined that were very similar to Nepenthes but did not produce any pitchers. An initial search revealed that a deformed jug protruded from the ground. “Yet, as we continued to find other potted plants along the ascent to the top, we wondered if a species of potted plant might have evolved against carnivorous loss, as can be seen in some other carnivorous plants.” But then, when he took pictures, Majeský said he tore a moss pillow from a tree base; reveals a bunch of jugs with a rich reddish-brown hue. “We hope that the discovery of this unique carnivorous plant can help protect Bornea’s rainforests, in particular prevent or at least slow down the conversion of pristine forests to oil palm plantations.” , says Wewin Tjiasmanto from the Indonesian nature conservation group Yayasan Conservation Biota Lahan Basah in Surabaya, who helped discover the new species. The research is published in the journal PhytoKeys.

Researchers have discovered a carnivorous plant that grows prey-catching objects underground, feeds on underground creatures such as worms, larvae and beetles.

The newly discovered species of jug plants was unearthed in the Indonesian province of northern Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo. Like other pitcher plants, Nepenthes pudica has modified leaves, known as pitfalls or pitchers, into which its prey falls before being consumed. (A species is so large that it can catch rats.)

No other species of pitcher plant known to science catches their prey underground.

The plant forms specialized underground shoots with small white, chlorophyll-free leaves, the researchers said. The jugs are much larger than the leaves and have a reddish color.

“This species places its up to 11 cm long (4.3 inches long) “underground jugs, where they form in cavities or directly in the ground and capture animals that live underground, usually ants, mites and beetles,” he said. lead study author Martin Dančák from Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic, in a press release.

Only three other groups of carnivorous plants are known to catch underground prey, but they all use very different catching mechanisms and can, unlike Nepenthes pudica, catch only small organisms, the researchers said.

“Interestingly, we found many organisms that lived inside the jugs, including mosquito larvae, nematodes and a species of worm, which was also described as a new species,” said Václav Čermák of Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic, who was also part of the research team.

Luck played a role in its discovery. The researchers noticed plants on the rock that they examined that were very similar to Nepenthes but did not produce any pitchers. A first search showed that a deformed jug protruded from the ground.

“At first we thought it was a pitcher accidentally buried and that local environmental conditions had caused the shortage of other pitchers,” said Ľuboš Majeský from Palacký University Olomouc, which was part of the research group.

Nepenthes pudica is found in the Indonesian province of northern Kalimantan on Borneo.  No other species of jug plant catches its prey underground.

Martin Dančák

Nepenthes pudica is found in the Indonesian province of northern Kalimantan on Borneo. No other species of jug plant catches its prey underground.

“Still, as we continued to find other cannibalistic plants along the ascent to the top, we wondered if a species of cannabis plant might have evolved against carnivorous loss, as can be seen in some other carnivorous plants.”

But then, when he took pictures, Majeský said he tore a moss pillow from a tree base; reveals a bunch of jugs with a rich reddish-brown hue.

This discovery is important for nature conservation in Indonesian Borneo, which is a hotspot for biodiversity.

“We hope that the discovery of this unique carnivorous plant can help protect Bornea’s rainforests, in particular prevent or at least slow down the conversion of pristine forests to oil palm plantations,” said Wewin Tjiasmanto of the Indonesian Conservation Group Yayasan Conservancy Biota Lahan Basah in Surabaya. discover the new species.

The research is published in the journal PhytoKeys.

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