Desperate for a drink, the famous naturalist Alfred Wallace drank the liquid from a group of pitcher plants while exploring Malaysia. Although the fluid was full of dead insects and looked “uninviting”, he wrote in 1890 that he and his friends “found it very palatable, though rather warm, and we all quenched our thirst from these natural jugs”. They must have been almost delirious with dehydration to have quaffed a few pitchers, as one local name for these plants translates to “the place where rats pee”, probably because of the urine-like smell from decomposing insects. While I have drunk the fluid from unopened pitchers of Nepenthes gracilis (slightly sweet and slimy), when it smells like a rat urinal, and comes from a vessel often called a “hanging stomach”, it does not sound like a drink that will improve with age.
Keywords: Field studies, Borneo, spiders, ants, Nepenthes gracilis, Misumenops nepenthicola, Oecophylla smaragdina
Pollard, Simon D.. 2012. Fishing spiders in the hanging stomachs of Borneo. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 41(1):20-23.
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