Triffids Underground

Carnivorous plants are (to put it bluntly) pretty darn dope. I mean what’s cooler than the idea that ‘boring’ and ‘unremarkable’ plants have upgraded themselves from prey to predator!?! These carnivorous beasties have served as inspiration for an array of scary monsters in the world of fiction, such as the Triffids, Audrey II and more recently the Demogorgon from Stranger Things (I really want to add Bulbasaur and his evolutionary lineage to the list but I don’t think that’s more a symbiotic relationship).

But it turns out that we could’ve made these creatures even more terrifying, but still biologically plausible, by making them capable of haunting not only those living above ground but those below ground too…

Read more: First record of functional underground traps in a pitcher plant: Nepenthes pudica (Nepenthaceae), a new species from North Kalimantan, Borneo

A new species of carnivorous plants from Borneo (described only this year) have been found to have underground (yes you read that correctly) pitchers, the acid-filled tubs into which unsuspecting insects often fall. Not only is this really neat but it also shows we have so much left to discover and learn about the natural world…

But also just imagine carnivorous plant inspired monsters with the ability to move swiftly underground like the sandworms from Dune

Tanya Strydom is a PhD candidate at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.

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