There’s More Than One Way to Trap An Ant: How a Pitcher Plant Uses Its Lid to Capture Prey
Episode 18 by Niki Wilson (Click here to directly access the MP3)
Hovering over the rim of the pitcher plant Nepenthes gracilis is a lid that protects the pitcher from being flooded by rain. But a recent study has discovered that the lid is much, much more. In this species, the lid acts as another trapping mechanism, allowing insects to be “flicked” off the lid by rain drops and into the digestive fluid in the pitcher below.
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Niki Wilson is a science writer living in Jasper. She hails from an environmental science and biology background, but traded the field for the computer screen. She writes a regular column, On Science, for the Jasper Fitzhugh, and podcasts for Parks Canada and Experimental. She has freelanced for the Canadian Science Media Center, and is an affiliate of the Banff Centre Science Communications Program. See more of her writing at www.nikiwilson.com.