Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Rat eating pitcher plant

British botanists made public their discovery of a new carnivorous plant from Palawan that makes Audrey II in the Little Shop of Horrors closer to reality. Named Nephentes attenboroughii after nature documentary filmmaker Sir David Attenborough, the plant is big enough to eat a rat. Attenborough was reported to have been much flattered. The honour was more than what a BAFTA or a Queen's honour could give.

I am not surprised at all.

The Philippines remain as a place where evolution is on overdrive. Among the mammal groups whose evolution is on overdrive are rats and mice. The Philippines has probably the world's most number of endemic rodent species. Luzon has cloud rats, shrew mice etc. Mindanao has rock mice etc.

With few predators save for snakes, it isn't unusual that a plant will go into the rat eating game.

Now in the aftermath of the le affaire Le Cirque et Bobby Van, Pinoy wags have had a field day. Some wags want the plant to decorate the House of Representatives or the Palace by the River. Can the plant gobble a congressman or a president? As for the latter, the wags say an unqualified "yes"!

After the claims for perks affair in the British parliament, Brit wags want it too inside the Commons!

Too bad that these plants can't survive outside their misty mountain habitats. In fact it is illegal to collect pitchers and some are on the endangered list. Pitchers sold illegally in Manila die of the heat and possibly the pollution.

Some mad scientist can genetically engineer one to be pursuit predator specializing in congressmen!

SOURCE: Philippine Commentary


Jm Benavidez Estoque said...

wow! beautiful news!
Philippines is really one of a kind country that we could produce an organism that is only to ours!

I love you Philippines!

Jesusa Bernardo said...

Our pitcher plant, unfortunately, is not the biggest. The original holder of the title somewhere outside our beautiful archipelago remains in its predatory rank.

Too bad Nephentes attenboroughii can't grow large enough to gobble up even a diminutive "President" or bogus-as_-licking DOM congressmen. There's still some hope in genetic engineering, as blackshama writes. (I'm not for GE, though. Too dangerous tinkering with nature, my personal opinion).

Marcus Aurelius said...


"Up North" in the bogs (and during the summer) one can find pitcher plants. Their environs are very acidic soils and poor nutrient wise so they adapted and catch bugs of which there are plenty.