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Deadly for bugs, perfect for bat naps

Interior of carnivorous pitcher plant is a daytime refuge for nighttime hunters

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7:10pm, January 25, 2011

Batman’s not afraid of some little old meat-eating plant. He naps in its death traps.

For a daytime roost, both male and female Hardwicke’s woolly bats wedge themselves partway down the throats of vase-shaped leaves that capture insects for a vining species of carnivorous pitcher plant, says tropical ecologist Ulmar Grafe of University Brunei Darussalam in Gadong. The bats fold up to be smaller than a cell phone but are still too big to slip all the way down to the narrowest part of the leaf’s tapered bottom, where a pool of digestive liquid drowns insects that fall in.

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