Just when it feels like we’ve seen it all, explorers come back with some super cool new species of animal or plant. Recently discovered by a group traveling in the Indonesian province of North Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo was a new type of pitcher plant. Pitcher plants are normally carnivorous but grow above ground. This one has adapted to trap prey underground and feed on such things as worms, larvae and beetles.
This newly discovered species Nepenthes Pudica has modified leaves, also known as pitfall traps. The pitfall traps are pitchers which prey fall into before being digested. The easiest way for me to describe what it looks like is to think of a Victreebel the Pokémon.
There’s one species found in Indonesia in 2018 that is so big, it can trap rats! But back to this particular probably-not-Vecna carnivorous plant.
“This species places its up-to-11-cm-long (4.3-inch-long) pitchers underground, where they are formed in cavities or directly in the soil and trap animals living underground, usually ants, mites and beetles,” Martin Dančák of Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic told CNN.
There are other kinds of plants that trap prey underground but they all use different mechanisms. They’re also said to catch much smaller prey than the Nepenthes Pudica. Along with bugs the carnivorous plant was eating, scientists also found living organisms inside such as mosquito larvae, nematodes, and a new species of worms. So…totally The Upside Down vines from “Stranger Things.”
This wasn’t easy to spot when the group ascended on to the mountain it was discovered on. They first spotted familiar leaves with no pitcher. Upon closer inspection they saw one poking out of the ground. At first thinking that it must have been accidentally buried. It wasn’t until they kept seeing these leaves without the pitchers did they realize that they must be forming underground, and the one poking up from the dirt was no accident.