04082020

Plant uses raindrops to eat ants

A carnivorous pitcher plant uses power from falling raindrops to fling ants to their doom, biologists have discovered.

The team, from the University of Bristol, found that raindrops kick off very fast vibrations in the lid of the plant’s jug-shaped leaves.

This propels ants from the lid into the pitcher trap below, where they drown and are consumed by digestive juices.

The findings, published in the journal PNAS, are based on high-speed cameras and laser vibration measurements.

Using these instruments, Dr Ulrike Bauer and her colleagues recorded extremely fast movement in the lid of the pitcher leaf, after it was hit by a raindrop.

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