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Thread: Evolutionary theory and stuff

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    Evolutionary theory and stuff

    Can some epiphyte nepenthes become parasitic? in like millions of years?? Those names of N. Veitchii, N. Lowii, N. Epiphytica?
    Although I have no evidence for this(this being a random thought) It would probably pretty useless in any research though.
    Anyways please give your opinions.

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    Grey Moss's Avatar
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    Interesting thought. I'm not sure that any ever would though. Parasitic plants are parasitic because they can't photosynthesize or gather their own nutrients. Nepenthes can do both of those on their own already so I'm not sure that any nepenthes that developed these mutations would have enough of competitive edge to develop into a parasite in the next hundred million years. If they did they'd likely change so much we wouldn't recognize them as being nepenthes anyway.
    Last edited by Grey Moss; 09-11-2017 at 02:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Moss View Post
    Interesting thought. I'm not sure that any ever would though. Parasitic plants are parasitic because they can't photosynthesize or gather their own nutrients. Nepenthes can do both of those on their own already so I'm not sure that any nepenthes that developed these mutations would have enough of competitive edge to develop into a parasite in the next hundred million years. If they did they'd likely change so much we wouldn't recognize them as being nepenthes anyway.
    Just saying this since I felt deforestation could do something about it... but I realize it's end would be very different.

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    I believe it could be possible since in evolution it seems there is an infinite amount of paths a plant can take. All parasitic plants once were able to photosynthesize, but it is more efficient for the plant to steal nutrients from others than make their own. Some parasitic plants do photosynthesize, such as Indian Paint Brush, which can serve as an intermediate between normal plants/parasitic and demonstrate how they evolved.

    It may also be very unlikely to evolve for other unknown reasons. For example, if we take orchids, the only parasitic ones are terrestrial (or at least I've never heard of a parasitic epiphyte.) Since there are up to 30,000 species and it has never evolved, there could be reasons it has not been seen before.

    Disclaimer: I am not a scientists and these are my observations and guesses/opinions.
    Last edited by Purpoh; 09-11-2017 at 03:31 PM.

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    There are, in fact, epiphytic parasites--mistletoe comes to mind, and dodder. Nepenthes are interesting, too, because the reason they're carnivorous is because of how few nutrients they have. So it could definitely be advantageous for them to not have to invest so much energy in carnivory. However, they would be unrecognizable as Nepenthes in that they would lack pitchers.
    It's worth noting, by the way, that all vines are parasites (they compete with their host for light and increase the host's disease load) and most Nepenthes vine. So most Nepenthes are parasites, though not in the way you mean.
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    BigBella's Avatar
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    Sure, they can be parasites; these damn plants have been living off of me for years . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBella View Post
    Sure, they can be parasites; these damn plants have been living off of me for years . . .
    I like to think of it as more of a mutualism
    The worst thing [about being an adult] is when you realize that oreos are just OK
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmiggle View Post
    There are, in fact, epiphytic parasites--mistletoe comes to mind, and dodder. Nepenthes are interesting, too, because the reason they're carnivorous is because of how few nutrients they have. So it could definitely be advantageous for them to not have to invest so much energy in carnivory. However, they would be unrecognizable as Nepenthes in that they would lack pitchers.
    It's worth noting, by the way, that all vines are parasites (they compete with their host for light and increase the host's disease load) and most Nepenthes vine. So most Nepenthes are parasites, though not in the way you mean.
    Technically vines are not parasites. The definition of a parasite does not fit in with that of epiphytes. Also, I was referring only to the family of orchids on epiphytic parasites, not all plants.

    Adding on to Schmiggles comment, there wouldn't really be a reason for a parasitic plant to be carnivorous as it wouldn't need the additional nutrients. I didn't really think of that until just now

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    Quote Originally Posted by Purpoh View Post
    Technically vines are not parasites. The definition of a parasite does not fit in with that of epiphytes. Also, I was referring only to the family of orchids on epiphytic parasites, not all plants.

    Adding on to Schmiggles comment, there wouldn't really be a reason for a parasitic plant to be carnivorous as it wouldn't need the additional nutrients. I didn't really think of that until just now
    Epiphytes aren't parasites because they don't negatively affect their host. They're commensals. I'd say vines are parasites as soon as they start to negatively affect their hosts (which they often do), because they benefit at the host's expense. But at some point it becomes semantic.
    The thing with carnivorous plants is that it takes a huge amount of energy to be carnivorous, which is why they fair poorly against pretty much anything else if it can survive in an area. Otherwise I'm sure they would be more widespread. So if a carnivore could be a parasite and not put as much energy into producing traps, it would have a huge competitive advantage. I suppose the only reason that hasn't happened is because any intermediate state would be hard to come by, given how specialized epiphytic Nepenthes are to carnivory or other forms of nutrient acquisition through the pitcher.
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    Quote Originally Posted by schmiggle View Post
    Epiphytes aren't parasites because they don't negatively affect their host. They're commensals. I'd say vines are parasites as soon as they start to negatively affect their hosts (which they often do), because they benefit at the host's expense. But at some point it becomes semantic.
    The thing with carnivorous plants is that it takes a huge amount of energy to be carnivorous, which is why they fair poorly against pretty much anything else if it can survive in an area. Otherwise I'm sure they would be more widespread. So if a carnivore could be a parasite and not put as much energy into producing traps, it would have a huge competitive advantage. I suppose the only reason that hasn't happened is because any intermediate state would be hard to come by, given how specialized epiphytic Nepenthes are to carnivory or other forms of nutrient acquisition through the pitcher.
    My mistake, vines are commonly considered parasites. I didn't explain very well in my previous post is that if a parasitic plant put the energy into creating traps for bugs, it would be wasting it. It could have used that same energy to produce flowers, fruit, and reproduce itself. It doesn't seem there would be a reason for a plant to be both parasitic and carnivorous.
    Last edited by Purpoh; 09-12-2017 at 11:59 PM.

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