Daily Archives: 18th of June 2012

Pitcher plant uses power of the rain to trap prey

Nepenthes gracilis The Nepenthes gracilis pitcher plant, found in southeast Asia, has a unique, semi-slippery wax crystal surface on the underside of the pitcher lid. Researchers have found that ants could cling to this surface under normal conditions, but a rain drop falling on the lid is enough to dislodge the insects, catapulting them into the pitcher where they are digested. This behavior can be seen in videos accompanying the published article:

With a Flick of the Lid: A Novel Trapping Mechanism in Nepenthes gracilis Pitcher Plants. (2012) PLoS ONE 7(6): e38951. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038951