Pitcher plants, like Venus fly traps and Cape sundews are carnivorous plants. There are a variety of carnivorous plants and the way they trap their insect prey. Venus flytraps lure in the insects with their aroma and then the two large leafy pads snap closed around the insect. Cape sundews have numerous long sticky tentacles along the leaves. When an insect lands on the tentacles to feed on the gooey liquid droplets they present, the insect is caught in the sticky glue and the leaf then coils over to enclose the insect with as many tentacles as possible.
The pitcher plant is designed differently. The pitcher is a long tubular part of the plant that has a single leaf at the top that acts like a hood or lid. The bottom of the pitcher is filled with a toxic brew of chemicals that will digest any insect that happens to fall into it. The inner sides of the pitcher are ribbed and slippery, making it difficult for many insects to escape the deadly juices.
However, many insects, such as ants readily visit the underside of the leaf at the top of the pitcher. The underside of the leaf is covered with a thick waxy like substance that contains a sweet nectar. This nectar attracts ants, beetles and any other hungry insect that enjoys a sweet nectar meal.
On a recent trip to Borneo, Dr Ulrike Bauer from the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Cambridge, noticed that on dry days, most of the ants going to the underside of the pitcher plant freely came and went. When it rained, many of the ants that entered the pitcher plant ended up in the digestive pool in the bottom of the pitcher. This observation led her to conduct studies on pitcher plants in the lab.
She set up a hospital drip system that she could control. When the drip system was not working, ants freely entered and left the pitcher plant. When she allowed water to drip onto the top of the trap leaf at the top of the pitcher, she found that it caused the trap to literally catapult the ants on its underside down into the digestive pool. When the drop hit the trap, it slammed it down, slamming it shut against the upper lip of the pitcher. The impact of the trap hitting the lip was enough to cause the ants to lose their grip and be hurled down inside.
In her experiments, Dr Bauer found that when it was raining, the action of the trap leaf resulted in the capture of nearly 40% of the ants that entered the pitcher. On dry days, the percentage was very low.
Many people believe that pitcher plants grow better in rain forest conditions because the plant needs so much water. However, I have to wonder if part of the reason pitcher plants survive better in rainy conditions is that it provides more insect protein for the plant. In drier conditions, it’s quite possible that the pitcher plant literally starves to death for lack of capturing prey.
What I do know is that these plants had to have been specially designed to do what they do. For it to survive, it needs the specially shaped pitcher, the ability to produce the right digestive juices and then have a spring loaded leafy trap door that works in rainy environments to help capture insect prey to feed on. Subtract any one of these features and the pitcher plant won’t survive. Our infinitely wise Creator God knew what He was doing when He designed the pitcher plant.
This Plant Uses Raindrops To Catapult Food, Red Orbit, June 15, 2012.
by Dr. J. Y. Jones
Worship Not the Creature: Animal Rights and the Bible delivers the most forthright and engaging presentation of the Biblical view of animals in print. J. Y. Jones, long an accomplished physician, scholar, writer, outdoorsman, hunter, and man of God, is uniquely qualified to offer his cutting-edge treatment of this controversial topic. Don’t let the down-to-earth, diverting and friendly style fool you. Just as Americas wise Founding Fathers discovered latent tyranny in a penny tea tax, Dr. Jones powerfully exposes the radical political agenda of the contemporary animal rights movement. With careful argument, he reveals the animal rights movement as a potentially significant menace to liberty and even to Christianity itself. Adding Dr. Joness able apologetic for the Christian faith in reasoned and transparently personal terms, one should prepare for a rich, compelling, and enjoyable read.
About the Author: An eye physician and surgeon for almost forty years, Dr. Jones is a decorated Vietnam veteran. He has received numerous awards for writing and photography. He is a frequent speaker at wild-game suppers and other sportsmens events, and particularly enjoys sharing his Christian testimony. He has volunteered in twenty-three overseas eye-surgery mission trips. He is fluent in Spanish and conversational in Russian. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1964.
It seems our politics parallel our theology. Dr. Jones demonstrates how we have allowed the distinction between Creator God and His creation to be blurred or forgotten. I see a very relevant parallel in the way the tenets of American government have also been marginalized as we allow government employees and politicians to contend for unconstitutional disarmament of American citizens. Jones rightly sees this attempt to transfer sovereignty from the people to the government as apocalyptic. — Larry Pratt (Executive Director, Gun Owners of America)
This book is so gripping that I found it difficult to put down. I have known Dr. Jones for many years as a physician, hunter, author, and close friend. He and his wife Linda were frequent guests in our home in Washington, D.C., when I was in the U.S. House of Representatives, attending the National Prayer Breakfast and State of the Union Address, among other activities. His beliefs are deep-seated and convincing. Anyone should find this read to be thought-provoking and intensely interesting. — Hon. J. Roy Rowland (Six-term Congressman, Dublin, GA)
Very rarely does a book come out that tackles such an important topic confronting our culture, an issue that is subtle and confounding to many. Dr. Jones does an insightful job of communicating the deception of the animal activist movement that is threatening the very essence of the Judeo-Christian worldview. This is the first book I have read that endeavors to present a true Biblical response to the animal rights agenda. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand this insidious movement and the Biblical viewpoint a Christian should have toward it. — Dr. William Franklin Graham IV (Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn.)
Hardback; 192 pages