Only three other groups of carnivorous plants are known to trap underground prey, but they all use very different trapping mechanisms and, unlike Nepenthes pudica, can catch only minuscule organisms, the researchers said.
“興味深いことに, we found numerous organisms living inside the pitchers, including mosquito larvae, nematodes and a species of worm, which was also described as a new species,” said Václav Čermák of Mendel University in Brno, チェコ共和国, who was also part of the research team.
Luck played a role in its discovery. The scientists noticed plants on the mountain they were exploring that very closely resembled Nepenthes but produced no pitchers. An initial search showed a deformed pitcher protruding from the soil.
“初めに, we thought it was an accidentally buried pitcher and that local environmental conditions had caused the lack of other pitchers,” said Ľuboš Majeský of Palacký University Olomouc, who was part of the research team.
“それでも, as we continued to find other pitcherless plants along the ascent to the summit, we wondered if a species of pitcher plant might have evolved towards loss of carnivory, as seen in some other carnivorous plants.”
しかしその後, when taking photos, Majeský said he tore a moss cushion from a tree base; revealing a bunch of pitchers with a rich maroon hue.
This discovery is important for nature conservation in Indonesian Borneo, which is a biodiversity hotspot.
“We hope that the discovery of this unique carnivorous plant might help protect Bornean rainforests, especially prevent or at least slow the conversion of pristine forests into oil palm plantations,” said Wewin Tjiasmanto of Indonesian conservation group Yayasan Konservasi Biota Lahan Basah in Surabaya, who helped discover the new species.
The research published in the journal PhytoKeys