Discover the wonders of the warm-eating tree

The pitcher plant is actually a group of warm-cap plants, not just a single species. They have diverse sizes and properties, some even have

The pitcher plant is actually a group of warm-cap plants, not just a single species. They have diverse sizes and properties, some even have their own "taste."

Interesting things about warm-cut plants

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Butterflies die in sweet honey

General features

If you've ever read stories or watched Thuy Hu (China) movies, you've probably heard of the " human meat dumplings" of the female director Ton Nhi Nuong. This Gypsy character and her husband opened a roadside pub. The guests come here to eat and drink, be drugged, robbed of property and not only that, they also " get " to slaughter for meat. During the clash with Vo Tong, the two sides got into a fight and the Ton Nhi Nuong lost. They made brotherhood and later returned to Luong Son Bac.

The story of the seedling plant is similar. Like Ton Nhi Nuong, these colorful trees and beautiful patterns also "fascinate" the butterflies of butterflies that are hanging around. To increase the " glamor ", this group of plants also revealed that honey has a sweet aroma and, of course, their taste is equally great. When the remote guests miss this step and set foot on the "silk screen ", it is almost certain that it will find a way to " clean " the greedy and bring him to the slaughterhouse .

Regarding the general structure, the warmed plants have . warm ones that are "covered". " Lid " (operculum) as its name, helps rain water do not fall into the "warm" inside, to ensure that the concentration of gastric juice produced by the plant is not diluted. And the " warm ", which was created by encircling the round pocket of special leaves. These leaves have two internal and external faces with different properties. Outside of them are perfectly normal, but painted with more colorful patterns and colors, every insect can park on it and move easily. But the inside is completely different. Once the "flower butterfly " has fallen here, it is almost impossible to escape.

Professor Tanya Renner, of the University of California, who specializes in research on pitcher plants, said: "Inside there are lots of grooves with special microstructures that make insects unable to hang on them ." This inside is even very smooth and wax-like surface. "When there is more water, the inside is even more slippery. It's like you're playing ice skating but on the surface of a leaf," Tanya added.

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The inner face is extremely slippery and hard to grip

The above structure ensures that insects that only move by foot will have a " happy ending". But even with flying species, it is difficult to escape the death sentence. The juice is secreted in the warm heart and is added with sugar . Once the bee's wings or flies get stuck with the other, they are almost unable to take off. And the kettle, like a vegetable version of the stomach, will digest all the substances that the prey leaves.

But why is there such a strange " animal-eating" plant appearance? Because normally, plants are at the bottom of the food chain of the sexes. This time, evolution theory is the most logical answer. The father of this theory, Darwin, calls this paradox phenomenon " carnivorous syndrome ." Almost every "salty" plant has a common point: living in arid, undernourished areas, especially nitrogen, an important element that helps make DNA and proteins.

But if in the carnivorous animal, when they are too short of food, they can turn to the extreme form of cannibal eating . There are things that animals can move so they can apply that form. Plants are different, standing still, so they can't "eat each other" . Therefore, creating " sweet honey fly" traps is the only way.

Because life is difficult, many species are forced to become road bandits .

Not just killing .

Most of us hear about warming plants like scary plants. That's right, with insects. But not enough. In fact to survive, many representatives of this particular group of plants have evolved in symbiosis to maximize the nitrogen they can "collect" .

If you've ever heard of a gangster who says that "survivors still produce more benefits than the dead guy ", this is the maxim of these warmed species. There are warm lid species that only digest specific insects . There are other representatives who " work together in partnership" with mammals and others, "hire" bacteria to work for themselves.

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These vertebrate species are basically not in the menu of the warm lid

Compared to insects, vertebrates such as mammals and reptiles are often larger in size and also harder to digest , because they have bones made of calcium. Finding ways to " kill " and " eat " these animals requires a lot of effort as well as more risk if the prey tears the " warm" heart. Meanwhile, animals' faeces are often high in nitrogen, but they don't have a " need " to keep it. So why not "exchange"?

In 2009, a group of scientists from the Royal College of Pathways (Canada) traveled to high mountain forests in Malaysia to study a warmed species called Nepenthes lowii (N. lowii). They found that this warmed species has two different "warm" types - one close to the ground (terrestrial) and one elevated in the air (aerial). The " warm" ground is used to seduce insects like the nature of warmed species. But the high " warm " type, there is only one " passerby " - Tupaia montana mountain rat.

When the rat reaches the available "warm" " rotten wine" produced by N. lowii, they will " send" the rich nitrogen fertilizers into the warm heart. Using trace analysis based on element isotopes, the Canadian team confirmed that there are 57 to 100% nitrogen sources in N. lowii plants from the mountain rats.

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The droppings of mountain rats are the "favorite" food for the lid

After the discovery was published, it initiated a new wave of biology, a concern for research on warm-capped species. People began to ask the question - whether warm species eat meat animals?

There are warm-capped species that grow to a height of 6 meters , its flowers up to 1 meter tall and its "warm" up to 40 cm deep, which holds up to 2 liters of liquid! In theory, they can fully digest small rodents.

Sometimes just an accident!

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Nepenthes rajah is big enough to swallow mice

One of the "big" warming cuttings studied by Nepenthes rajah is on Borneo (Southeast Asia). The "warm" of this species is big and deep enough to drown mice. In 2011, another group of scientists from Germany explored this species. They also filmed how these species act as Canadian groups. But the difference was that instead of just shooting at night, the German group collected data both night and day.

This group discovered Nepenthes rajah that has two groups of " customers" visiting at different times in this. At sunny days, mountain mice dropped their mouths into the "warm " and drank soft drinks in them, "paying" with protein-rich seeds. But after the sun set, the nocturnal animal, bat Rattus baluensis, began to fly out of the nest. They also stop for Nepenthes rajah's "prostitute" for refreshment.

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No one can imagine that.

But during the 2-month survey, this group recorded a rare incident. One of the guests visiting the unfortunate " Nepenthes rajah " patron falls into " warm" and drowns in it. Nepenthes rajah does not seem to intentionally kill this mouse. It was like an accident at pubs when people drank too drunk to fall unconscious, lay back on the road, and died from being infected with solder immediately. And even though the body of the poor animal is fluttering like that, the other mice still calmly stop by and " drink" like nothing.

Half boarding house, half rented house

A warm lid can be a death penalty for insects, but not for some animals. Even some species see it as "motels and hotels" in some "missed steps".

The duo love bats, Caroline and Michael Schöner, stopping together in Borneo, the paradise of a warm lid. Here they examined Nepenthes hemsleyana (N. hemsleyana), a species known as having a relationship with the black bat Kerivoula hardwickii hardwickii.

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The other one is dead!

The "warm" of N. hemsleyana is relatively special. It is 4 times longer than relative N. rafflesiana. At that size, it was big enough for a long and thin bat to comfortably sit inside. Within 6 weeks, Schöners easily found 32 different bats to find . sleeping inside big "warm" ones . This black bat is the only species that "sleeps" in such a way.

Later, the two researchers placed locators on 17 bats, to determine how much time they spent sleeping inside the "warm" ones . The results were surprising, as they almost exclusively used N. hemsleyana's "warm " as a daytime sleep (bats only work at night). Although the forest still has other " lodging " options such as twigs, or niches on the trunk, this bat only prefers to stay in the warm of N. hemsleyana.

Bats are, after all, those who know things. They are not just staying but still "paying " properly. That kind of charge is the protein-rich particles as mentioned above. Caroline said: "Isotope analysis method shows that the warm plants actually benefit from bats" . One third of the protein in N. hemsleyana comes from this black bat.

High-class services

According to the history of mankind, prostitutes are not only overnight places for faraway guests. Hotels and hotels grow up, with all kinds of different types and utilities. Hot tub, massage service, cable TV, Wi-Fi, breakfast, buffet . Of course, the price is also low depending on the type.

Amidst the guidance of Prof. Gerald Kerth of Greifswald University (Germany) and Prof. Ulmar Grafe of Brunei University, the bat lovers continued on another survey in Borneo. This time they found that the bats occasionally change places, in the "warm" of another warmed species, N. bicalcarata.

But comparing between N. hemsleyana and N. bicalcarata, Caroline realizes N. hemsleyana for a better " room" than N. bicalcarata. The "warm" internal environment of N. hemsleyana has higher humidity. " Bats have a large layer of outer skin ." It is thought that they are most susceptible to dehydration from these membranes, especially in hot weather. Parking in high humidity places like "warm" N. hemsleyana can help bats avoid water loss better.

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"Luxury" apartments

In addition, N. hemsleyana also provides "free health" services to bats. The team found that the only bats that slept only in the "hotel " of N. hemsleyana were completely free from parasites, unlike the "rooms" of N. bicalcarata. The inside of the N. hemsleyana " warm" slippery slips to the point where the parasites' eggs cannot be left on them. As a result, the bats that " settled " entirely with N. hemsleyana had a healthier, larger body and were not infected with parasites.

So why do they visit N. bicalcarata for what?

As well as hotels and motels in human society, N. bicalcarata species has a denser distribution density than N. hemsleyana. Sometimes all "hemsleyana " hotels are " burnt down " and bats are forced to cross "motels " N. bicalcarata. Sometimes because of being too tired, it is okay to just take a nap .

Of course there are some reasons that affect the decisions of the bats. For example, the location of the tree grows, the direction of rain and wind, the sun, the distance of "warm" down to the ground . But most of all, Schöners found the bats "loyal" to the most species of N. hemsleyana.

Chemical war

Going back to "eating meat ", the most common trait of warmed species. While listening to "tigers" is so, but not this species does not have " afflictions". How to digest prey is also a problem, after drowning them in the sweet honey.

Different from vertebrate species, insects are species with hard shells wrapped around the body, made from a protein called chitin. The structure of this protein is extremely resistant to many other digestive enzymes. So before you can get the nutrients from drowning insects in you, the warm-cap species are forced to secrete a special enzyme called chitinase (the name of the enzyme that comes from "specialized" chitin). . Chitinase will cut this outer layer in turn.

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Before the animal's protein can be accessed, the lid must break the outer layer with chitin

After the chitin layer is removed, the new carnivorous plants secrete different digestive enzymes depending on the parts of the prey. Protase will break down fats, lipid-specific proteins and lipases, and esterase clean up the remains of the animal.

The way to use enzymes to consume this prey of carnivorous plants is almost identical to that of other plants. But carnivorous " plants " do not use them to attack, but the opposite is for defense purposes . As a standing species, plants are easily attacked by other species such as fungi and mold. Their spores also use chitin as insects as a protective shell. Therefore, plants also need to secrete chitinase to cope with the above hazards.

Professor Renner said, the oldest warm cap species also use the same method to deal with fungal species.

Army of bacteria

We often refer to bacteria as harmful species. Song or benefit lies in whether they are useful to us or not.With many warm cap species, the bacteria they "hire" to produce enzymes for themselves.

When studying two different caps, Nepenthes in Southeast Asia and Sarracenia in North America, MSc Leonora Bittleston of Harvard discovered they had significant differences in enzyme production.

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Beautiful but deadly with insects

Like many other warm cap trees when they were born, they have absolutely no microbe groups on them. But when " step into life ", insects fly in, other harmful bacteria fly in, mold, protozoa, even other hard insects also fly in, making the "warm" in love. Dangerous condition.

Similar to the probiotics that we add to the digestive tract, the bacteria in turn are " recruited " by the plants to help them consume more " indigestion " foods.

In her research, Leonora accepted the expenditure of Sarracenia living in Harvard, completely dependent on "hiring" the bacteria to " report" herself. She explained: "Until now, there has been no evidence of the making of chitinase by Sarracenia ." This contrasts with the warm-capped species being studied in Southeast Asia.

And it seems that compared to the " slowness " of temperate relatives, the warming species in the tropics are still developing and differentiating strongly, despite the speed of forest destruction in this area. alarm level. More and more new warm cap species have been discovered on the vast Borneo island between these three countries Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. In the Philippines, scientists see the same thing.

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The species N. attenboroughii with a giant "warm"

Caroline remarked: "Especially in the mountains (where traffic is dangerous), I think there are many types (warm covers) that have not been discovered yet. And what they do up there . nobody knows."

Is there any giant warm-cap species from even wild meat? Perhaps more research is needed.