Bat Roost in Pitcher Plan, Feed it With Excrement
Well it is amazing to say the least. Who would have thought that plants and bats can work together in quite an interesting relationship? A plant known as Nepenthes rafflesiana pitcher has gained a great source of nutrition and coexistence. Bats seem to work together with the plants, providing it with food as well as using it for a toilet.
Don't worry, you did hear that right, but it is not quite what you might think. Deep within the rainforests of Borneo, the woolly bat has created a bed out of the carnivorous pitcher plant. While resting in this plant, the bat releases urine and other excrement into the plant. The plant gets almost all of the nutrients it needs just from this alone.
It was quite an unbelievable sight for the scientists that discovered these bats and plants working together. Relationships between vertebrates and plants is quite a rare thing to see, much less to see it in this magnitude.
Now while you may think it is the plant that is relying on the bat, it is actually the other way around. The bat can enjoy a clean and dry environment in which to nests instead of having to stay inside a cave that is usually filled with blood-sucking parasites.
Research was done on this strange relationship between the bats and pitcher plants and something interesting was found. Even though the bats had many other places to roost during the day, they still chose to roost in the pitcher plants.
It was also discovered that the many pitcher plants that housed the wooly bats had a much higher content of nitrogen to spread to their leave than those that did not house the wooly bats. This relationship is a mutual benefit to both plants and bats.