Lemang periuk kera has been on the hot seat recently after reports of its mass harvesting for Ramadan and Raya sparked an outcry by environmentalists.
The viral Facebook post urged Malaysians to refrain from eating the carnivorous plant which was said to be currently listed as critically endangered.
If their critically endangered status wasn’t enough of a reason to convince you from refraining from indulging in this rare delicacy, we might have a better reason for you – pitcher plants feed off droppings of small mammals.
You heard us right. Twitter account @ZoologiMY recently shared this little piece of information through a twitter thread on the subject.
Disebabkan Aidilfitri bakal menjelang, we wish to state that..Lemang Periuk Kera is not a wise option to opt for during the festive season. Selain daripada they’re endangered sp or functionally important in our ecosystem, we ought to let u in on a one more secret. pic.twitter.com/EvoQE2bNuw— ZoologiMY (@ZoologiMY) May 30, 2019
According to the thread, pitcher plants have a mutually beneficial relationship with small mammals. Most specifically, bats and rodents.
Periuk kera or Nepenthes sp. has been known to exhibit a mutually beneficial relationship with a certain type of animals.— ZoologiMY (@ZoologiMY) May 30, 2019
In this case, bats and rodents in particular.
And how exactly does their relationship work, you might ask? Well…
A new study done by a group of scientist from UBD, suggest that these sp of carnivorous plant survives mostly off of bat faeces. pic.twitter.com/yNs23JV6tl— ZoologiMY (@ZoologiMY) May 30, 2019
Based on research conducted by scientists at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD), bats chill inside the pitcher plant cause the pitcher plant keeps it safe from parasites. Meanwhile, to return the favour, bats will poop inside it. And the pitcher plant eats that poop.
Besides bats, mountain tree shrew also poop in pitcher plants.
Also, as seen in this picture below. Mountain treeshrew, Tupaia montana also makes the nepenthes as their toilet bowl. pic.twitter.com/IR6lCuT3LH— ZoologiMY (@ZoologiMY) May 30, 2019
Mountain tree shrew like to eat the nectar found on the underside of pitcher plants leaves. Once the tree shrew is nice and full, he then sits atop the plants opening and defecates into the pot.
So…are you having lemang periuk kera this Raya? Let us know in the comments!