Why this plant is only a part-time killer

January 14, 2015 12:17 AM

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Why this plant is only a part-time killer

The insect-trapping Nepenthes rafflesiana, commonly known as Raffles’ pitcher plant, doesn’t always capture the ants and other prey that are drawn to it.

The rims of some of the pitchers of the viny plant, which grows in the tropical lowlands in parts of Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago, are slick when conditions are humid, so insects walking there readily slip into the enzyme-rich, prey-digesting fluid inside the vessel. But for several hour...

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