Research, Technology

Underground plants that feed on animals discovered

In 2016, specialists from the RoyalThe Botanical Gardens announced that 390,900 plant species are known to science. Since then, several dozen new varieties have been discovered - scientists are constantly studying nature in different regions of the planet, so this is not surprising. Sometimes the revelations are pretty creepy. For example, wildlife researchers recently reported discovering carnivorous plants that grow underground and feed on animals. For people, they are completely harmless, but it is better for small rodents and especially insects to stay away from them, because plants build very cunning traps for them and eat them mercilessly. According to the description, they are similar to horror movie monsters, so let's find out more about them.

Carnivorous plants that feed on animals grow on the island of Kalimantan

A new species of carnivorous plants

On the existence of carnivores growing undergroundplants became known back in 2012, when a group of scientists made an expedition to the island of Kalimantan. During the walk, they found plants of the genus Nepenthes (Nepenthes), which usually have processes in the form of water lilies. However, unlike other representatives of this genus, the found specimens did not have visible water lilies. They were found only after removing the layer of moss that covered the ground - water lilies were hiding in the ground. One would think that the plant was unintentionally trampled into the soil, but in the course of scientific work it turned out that this was not an accidental phenomenon.

We have found a pitcher plant that is markedly different from all other known species,” said botanist Martin Dancak.

Pitchers taken from = underground

Carnivorous plants can even live in your home! Here they are.

How do carnivorous plants hunt?

There are a large number of predatorspitchers that feed on small rodents and insects. To attract prey, they expose their water lilies on the surface of the soil or trees - animals go inside in search of nutrients and cannot get out because of the slippery surface. At the bottom of each cavity there is a trap that contains digestive juices. In it, animals die, releasing nutrients to the plant.

Sometimes carnivorous plants are grown at home

But the plants found on the island of Kalimantan are notput their water lilies on display. The cavities are hidden underground and are designed specifically to capture organisms living in the soil. The name Nepenthes pudica was given to the new species of Nepenthes plants - in total, scientists were able to find 17 specimens. Inside each of them were found traces of signs of overcooked food. So, scientists are right in everything and they really found a new species of carnivorous plants with a unique method of hunting living creatures.

This plant species places its jars up to 11 centimeters underground and catches animals like ants, ticks and beetles,” added Martin Danczak.

Where do carnivorous plants grow?

Surprisingly, representatives of the species Nepenthespudica grow at high altitude. In particular, the plants seen during the expedition grew on a mountain range at an altitude of 1100-1300 meters above sea level. Why they prefer such a high altitude, scientists do not know for sure. But they understand the choice of growing underground - underground cavities have more stable environmental conditions. In particular, we are talking about mostly the same humidity, which helps to survive periods of drought. And on the island of Kalimantan, which is located near the equator line, it is very hot.

Jugs underground

It should be noted that earlier plants of the genus Nepenthesalready mentioned in our articles. So, in 2019, I talked about Nepenthes rajah (Nepenthes rajah), which in their shape strongly resemble toilet bowls. And for good reason, because with the help of their nectar they attract rodents who love to "mark the territory" and feed on their feces. It sounds disgusting, but these plants are able to extract a lot of nutrients from waste products. If you like programs about animals, watch an excerpt from a video about this plant here.

Close relationship between Nepenthes Raja and rodents

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There are many more amazing things in the world.plants, many of which you don't know about yet. For example, have you ever heard of Rafflesia Arnold, which not every person decides to approach because of the disgusting smell that resembles rotten meat. You can read more about this "skunk" and other strange plants in this material.