Microscope

Perhaps this is the most unromantic cohabitation in the living world. Nepenthes ampullaria, an unusual pitcher plant found on the islands of Southeast Asia, allows the worm of Xenoplatyura beaveri, a species of fungus, develop and grow inside the plant's mouth.

  • Published 2.04.18
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Weird world of pitcher plants

• Perhaps this is the most unromantic cohabitation in the living world. Nepenthes ampullaria, an unusual pitcher plant found on the islands of Southeast Asia, allows the worm of Xenoplatyura beaveri, a species of fungus, develop and grow inside the plant's mouth. In exchange, the fungus captures and eats other insects and then defecates into the pitcher. The plant eats the ammonium-rich droppings for survival, found a study in Biology Letters.

Humming sound

• Jacobin hummingbird makes a sound so high-pitched that scientists suspect it can't hear itself. Claudio Mello, a behavioural neuroscientist at Oregon Health and Science University, US, analysed the noise made by the birds and found that they produce too many syllables in rapid succession. This was well above the normal hearing range of the birds. The findings suggest that the birds probably can't hear the sounds they make.

Shape of ears

• Researchers have discovered that filling in an external part of the ear with a small piece of silicone drastically changes people's ability to detect the source of sound. The study published in the Journal of Neuroscience showed the brain adjusts to the new shape quickly, and gains the ability to pinpoint sounds with accuracy, just like dogs do.

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