The largest carnivorous plant in the world is the nepenthes Rajah (lat. Nepenthes rajah), endemic to the region of Sabah in East Malaysia. This climbing vine length on average, approximately 3 meters and a thickness of 30 mm. Its a giant trap is a tank fitted with a “cap”. This jug with a diameter of 20 cm and a height of 41 cm is capable of holding 3.5 liters of water and more than 2.5 litres of digestive fluid.
Like other members of the family of Kuvshinnikov (lat. Nepēnthes) the plant is mainly eats insects. In the Cup can fall off and small animals such as mouse, frog or lizard, but to cope carnivorous flora can only sick and weak individuals – thus, the main diet of Nepenthes rajah reptiles, mammals and others like them are not. However, in contrast to their more fortunate relatives, a huge nepenthes Rajah grows in areas where insects are not so many and they can not eat alone! As a result, the plant had to rebuild their food priorities.
The plant has developed a unique food chain: large bowl filled with nutritious nectar that attracts small animals – primarily local endemic Tupaia montana. These animals of the family topovyh (lat. Tupaiidae) live mainly in trees and eat insects and fruits of plants. Slazav nectar with a leaves of kuvshinchika, mountain tree shrew here, defecate, fertilizing the flower, and animal feces under the action of digestive enzymes of a plant are transformed into a new portion of nectar that attracts new animals.
These 3 pitcher plants grow where insects are scarce & so evolved ‘toilets’ for shrews, which excrete in the pitchers, fertilising the plant pic.twitter.com/EBvN9K7t8R
— Chris Thorogood (@thorogoodchris1) 8 January 2017.
In order for the production cycle did not stop, nepenthes Rajah turned the Lily in the natural analogue of the toilet: the plant has thickened the walls of their bowls so that the animal sits on it comfortably, not fall and does not break the flower. And the shape of the funnel, which took the Cup of plants, allows animal droppings to get exactly as directed. In addition to feces, rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, the composition of the nectar consists of the substance of fallen leaves.
Scientists drew attention to the fact that production takes time. To the hungry beasts have not come in vain, the plant “signal” to them about preparedness, changing the color of the Cup on the brighter. All of this suggests that the scheme was a long time, and this collaboration is a win – win. Animals get readily available food, “repaying” her for the fact that they are not worth anything.
A similar Association was found in some other species of kuvshinchika, Nepenthes lowii and Nepenthes hemsleyana. The last of them learned to live in symbiosis with bats – they can use the Cup as a daytime refuge, and in return the plant feeds on bat droppings. A Nepenthes lowii grows in another part region of Sabah, and is so adapted to the secretion of juice, which completely lost the ability to hunt for insects: he is now enough of waste products of mice, birds and other small fauna.