Although it may seem like science fiction to think of a carnivorous plant, they are actually real and eat insects and small animals.
Researchers have discovered a new, strange-looking species called Nepenthes Pudica. It traps prey in an unusual way among all these plants.
This plant has been identified as a pitcher for its modified leaves, called pitfall traps. The plant features a bulbous cavity with digestive fluid at the base.
The study’s lead author, Martin Dancak from Palacky Universität Olomouc in Czech Republic stated in a statement that he found a pitcher plants which is significantly different to all other species.
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In Indonesia, the unique carnivorous plants have been discovered. The lower pitchers are shown under a mat of moss (left), while the lower pitchers were taken out from a cavity.
Pitcher plants often produce pitfall traps on the ground or in trees, so insects can be attracted to them.
Once the insects have been dissolved, they are removed from the cavity by the digestive juices.
N. Pudica is different than other similar plants botanists have seen because it has pitfall traps that are underground.
‘This species places its up-to–11-cm-long [4.3-inch]Dancak explains that pitchers can live underground in either soil cavities or directly in the soil.
Nepenthes Pudica, a newly discovered carnivorous herb is now known. Below is an image of the lower pitchers taken from soil (left), and those excavated beneath tree roots.
It may be that the species unique method of trapping prey has given them an evolutionary advantage. Below are male flowers and male plants with florescence.
Reddish-colored pitchers are often found underground, where they retain their size.
‘Interestingly, we found numerous organisms living inside the pitchers, including mosquito larvae, nematodes and a species of worm which was also described as a new species,’ explains Václav Čermák of the Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic, who was also part of the research team.
The unique method of trapping prey might have provided this species with an evolutionary advantage.
This species was discovered for the first time in 2012, on Borneo island in North Kalimantan in Indonesia. Pictured (left) is infructescence, which refers to the fruits derived from the reproductive part of the plants, and a female plant (right) with infructescence
“The potential strong prey competition and environmental constraints in the forest’s understory (e.g., dryness affecting ridgetops) are both factors that could be prevented by moving traps underground. Researchers suggest that traps could be moved underground to avoid dryness on ridgetops. Above are Nepenthes Pudica junior rosette pitchers and Nepenthes Pudica upper pitchers.
“The Nepenthes Pudica living strategy can be considered an evolutionary advantage. As carnivorous plants are highly dependent on prey for organic nutrients essential for reproductive success, strong selective pressures may have acted on traits related to prey capture,’ the researchers state in their paper published in the journal PhytoKeys.
“Hence the potential strong prey competition and environmental constraints in the forest’s understory (e.g., dryness) The traps can be relocated underground in order to prevent dryness from affecting the ridgetops.
It was discovered for the first time in 2012, on Borneo Island in North Kalimantan in Indonesia.
One scientist said that this discovery was important for the conservation of nature in Indonesian Borneo. Pictured is a habitat with a mature plant (left) and a habitat with lower pitchers excavated from the soil (right)
Their research hopes to inspire conservation efforts in highly biodiverse areas of Indonesia. Below are the details of a climbing stem and a leaf.
Researchers discovered that Nepenthes were found in the region, but they didn’t make pitchers.
The species they discovered was able to target the underground environment as they explored more of that region.
This discovery was important to nature conservation in Indonesian Borneo as it underscores the importance of Indonesian Borneo as a global biodiversity hotspot.
Wewin Tjiasmanto, Yayasan Konservasi Biota Lahan Basah’s co-discoverer of the new species, said, “We hope that this unique carnivorous plants might help to protect Bornean rainforests.
Researchers published their research in the journal PhytoKeys.