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Thread: Nepenthes evolution

  1. #1
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    Who here thinks that some Nepenthes, with their huge pitchers occasionaly catching mammals and birds, are truly evolving to catch them? I think they are. I mean, Why could the pitchers get so large anyway? All that space can't just be for bugs can it?

  2. #2

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    i will agree with that but actually it does matter how big the pitcher is even the smaller pitchers are known to catch small animals. just a week ago i noticed that one of the plants caught lizard with out me putting it in there
    George McKay

    In The End We are All Dead
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    Arrow

    I just hope VFT's don't get any ideas! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif[/img]
    Can you imagine?

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    But WHY should the catch big prey [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif[/img]

    Mammals are not so easy to degist than a constant drop of small insect corpses and the pitchers will easily be overfed and rot. Big prey will lure animals which are searching for food and propably destroying the pitcher to obtain the captured animal which would be an easy to get meal.

    And IF they would evolve into big pitchers plants it will take a lots of time and it is defintly not sure if human beeings are then still walking over this planet. (At the moment the better question will be hwo long some of the Nepenthes will survive withot any remaining suitable habitat)

    Martin

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    Angry

    Good point Martin.
    I can see it working if the digestive secretions become more powerful as the pitcher size increases. If the juice was more powerful, the prey would be digested more quickly and at least prevent rot (though scavengers is another story). Does anyone know if there is any corolation between pitcher size and enzyme potentcy?
    17 Nash Rd.
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    looking in here

    [img]http://home.**********.com/george-cp/IMG_0301.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://home.**********.com/george-cp/IMG_0302.jpg[/img]
    George McKay

    In The End We are All Dead
    Florida

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    I think it won't be long before Nepenthes will exist only in cultivation. Then, evolution will basically be in the hands of humans, and survivability will have little to do with catching prey and much more dependent on how much a particular Nep "pleases" the humans that are cultivating it. Imagine a Nep that by some random mutation created, say, a star-shape pitcher. Growers who find it charming will clone it like crazy, and before you know it, through adverse selection, Neps would have "evolved" into producing star-shaped pitchers, regardless of whether or not the shape facilitates catching prey.

    There a book called....I think something like "Botany of Desire" that describes how the evolution of tulips, apples, potatoes, and marijuana have totally been engineered by humans. I think the same will apply to future Neps.

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    This is selection, not evolution.

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