o The Frog Blog: Bats Poo Boosts Pitcher Plant's Diet

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Bats Poo Boosts Pitcher Plant's Diet

Living in the dense jungles of Borneo are the pitcher plants - a group of carnivorous plants which supplement their diet with insects, frogs or sometimes even rats. But one such pitcher plant, N. rafflesiana elongata (pictured across), has been discovered by a team of researchers from the University of Brunei which is practically useless at capturing insects or other critters. However, it has developed a new means of gaining extra nutrients - by allowing bats to live within its pitcher and feeding off their poo! The strange mutually beneficial relationship sees the plant gain extra nitrogen to grow (the soil in which it lives is quite low in nutrients) while the bat benefits from having a secure roosting place that is also free of blood-sucking ectoparasites that often accumulate in bat roosts. For more information on this extremely interesting scientific study click here.

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