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Carnivorous plant catches prey underground, found in Indonesia

  • Published
    5th Jul, 2022
Context

A first-of-its-kind carnivorous plant that traps prey underground has been found on Indonesia's Borneo Island in the country's North Kalimantan province.

About

About the new species:

  • The newly found species of pitcher plant was unearthed in the Indonesian province of North Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo.
  • Nepenthes pudica has modified leaves, known as pitfall traps or pitchers that its prey falls into before being consumed.
  • No other species of pitcher plant known to science catches its prey underground.
  • The plant forms specialized underground shoots with small, white, chlorophyll-free leaves.
  • The pitchers are much larger than the leaves and have a reddish color.
  • This species places its up-to-11-cm-long (4.3-inch-long) pitchers underground, where they are formed in cavities or directly in the soil and trap animals living underground, usually ants, mites and beetles.

Carnivorous plants:

  • Carnivorous plants attract, trap and digest animals for the nutrients they contain.
  • There are currently around 630 species of carnivorous plant known to science.
  • Although most meat-eating plants consume insects, larger plants are capable of digesting reptiles and small mammals.
  • Smaller carnivorous plants specialise in single-celled organisms (such as bacteria and protozoa) and aquatic examples also eat crustaceans, mosquito larvae and small fish.

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