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Thread: N. lowii

  1. #17

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    Exactly Nep Gracilis. I am going with you all the way. By the way, Vic I am not a botanist, but a molecular biologist. My experience as a scientist tells me that we'll never find an absolute answer, just relative ones, with or without long term studies. Living things are not on this earth endowed with a single function but with more than one. They are so adaptable, in most cases, that they change functions when their environment changes. The most intriguing aspect of nepenthes pitcher shape is the fact that there are so many varieties and no one knows why. Their plasticity to change shape when hybridized is amazing. So I do believe that Lowii's pitcher shape and size provides this plant with an advantage of catching bird's poo, but it does not mean that it was specifically evolved to catch them. That as i mentioned before, remains to be proven. So please let's be careful with the terminology used here.

    Vic, maybe you should get a degree in botany and clarify these things for us? [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rolleyes.gif[/img]


    Gus

  2. #18
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    Gus

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    So I do believe that Lowii's pitcher shape and size provides this plant with an advantage of catching bird's poo, but it does not mean that it was specifically evolved to catch them.[/QUOTE]

    In essence your statement is correct. Until further study has been done no one should believe this is "gospel" however it can be reasonably proven one way or the other.

    You will have to agree that bird poo is available everywhere, in every jungle.

    Examinations of the contents of pitchers of all other Nepenthes has shown that they do not contain bird poo. I have seen several hundred for myself personally and other people have done studies on particular species so this is a fact, not an assumption by me. This suggests that, even by accident, bird poo is not a usual source of nutrients for Nepenthes.

    IF someone goes out into the jungle and finds that a substantial percentage of lowii pitchers do contain bird poo then it is a reasonable assumption that the plant has evolved to take advantage of bird poo as a source of nutrients. This would be reinforced even further if it turns out that there are very few insects in those same pitchers.

    If it is show that lowii has evolved to catch bird poo I doubt anyone would believe that this means lowii is unable to take advantage of any other prey that enters the pitchers. Only that lowii has evolved to become better than other Nepenthes at catching bird poo.

    Just another example; the aristolochioides site is infested with these tiny flying gnat things that irritate the heck out of you. They appear to be the major source of prey on the ridge. Have a look at aristolochioides, how the pitcher has evolved, and tell me how successful it would be at catching flying gnats if it were shaped like ampullaria and hidden away in the undergrowth.

    At this point in time no one is saying the bird poo theory is the truth but it is looking very probable and through field study of large populations it can be statistically proven either way.

    cheers, Troy.

  3. #19

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    'Vic, maybe you should get a degree in botany and clarify these things for us?'[/QUOTE]

    I already have a degree in ecology, and two post graduate degrees and 15 years research experience with animal-plant interactions, much of it spent researching as an entomologist in a plant ecology department, I think its a bit late in life for me to take another degree! My wife's PhD is in botany, so maybe I can bring her along too. Just send a very large cheque made payable to V. Brown, and I'll book the flights and start planning! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]

    Seriously, if Charles Clarke, who is acknowledged as someone with great expertise and experience of these plants in nature, considers the hypothesis to be plausible, I'm happy with it and willing to wait for the right scientists to do the relevant research. I wasn't trying to cause offence, just trying point out what would be involved, in general terms, in order to investigate this.

    Cheers

    Vic
    They say that money talks, but all it ever says to me is goodbye.

  4. #20

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    NG,

    Why would the lowii die off in thousands of collections worldwide, if they are/were evolving to catch bird feces? You mention that people feed their lowiis bugs and fertilizer. If so, they do not need to catch anything.

  5. #21
    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    I said that because if they were evolving just to capture and use bird feces specifically as food, us grower would most likely not know the cause of the decline in the health of the plant (if this were to ever happen). It was just an example that I was trying to use to explain that these plants will use anything that falls into thier pitchers as a possible source of nutrients.

  6. #22
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    To add to what Nep G just said about pitchers using "anything" that falls into it. There is another theorywhich is just as bizzare as the bird poop.

    That is the idea of N. ampullaria evolving into a "herbivorious" carnivore in having the reclining lids and growing beneath the forest canopy to trap falling leaf litter and debris.
    For a more extensive explanation of this theory see Nepenthes of Sumatra by Charles Clarke.

  7. #23
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    I think fatboy said everything I wanted to say about this topic [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img] . I believe that N. lowii evolved in a way to make use of insects and excrements. The shape of the pitchers and methods of attraction are just ways to aid it in collecting bird poo, which may be more benificial than insects, considering the conditions in the area. Conditions like amount of birds versus insects, ease of attracting and capturing bird poo versus insects, etc. Too many factors to make an educated guess, really...

  8. #24

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    That's pretty cool Swords... Has anyone ever tried to feed there neps leaves or debris from plants? If not, it would be very fun to find out if N. Ampullaria or any other nep for that matter, can thrive off of plant debri and/or leaves. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]
    I share your sorrow and your grief…Numberless times I convey my anguish.....

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