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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rat eating plant found in Phillipines

Not many people know that there are plants that eat meat as well. Say again ? Plants that eat meat ? Yes. There have plants such as the pitcher plant and sundew that eat meat. But humans need not be worried as yet. In a recent discovery by scientists, a plant that can eat rats has been found on Mount Victoria in Palawan, central Philippines. The plant has been named in honour of Sir David Attenborough. The plant has a pitcher which attracts insects and rats, and then takes nutrition from these animals (link to article):

The new discovery measures up to 30 centimeters in diameter and is formed by a tendril which inflates into a large cup-shaped trap. McPherson told CNN: "Around the mouth of the pitcher are secretions of nectar which attracts insects and small animals. The rim has lots of waxy downward-pointing ridges which help prey fall directly into the pitcher.
"These plants grow in really harsh areas where soil quality is very poor -- often pure gravel or sand. Catching insects allows the plant to augment nutrients that it otherwise wouldn't have access to." "These plants have evolved to catch insects. But on rare occasions they do catch rats and mice. The first reports of these plants catching rats was made in the 19th century by a British explorer called Spenser St John," McPherson said.

This is very interesting for those people who see a very clear separation between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. If a plant can itself eat meat, then that separation starts to wither away.

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