Rat-Eating Plant Named for Brit Naturalist Attenborough

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2009 12:56 PM CDT
Rat-Eating Plant Named for Brit Naturalist Attenborough
Nepenthes sibuyanensis, a different species of pitcher plant.   (©i-saint)

(Newser) – A rare, giant Philippine pitcher plant that likely dines on rats and mice has been named after British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, the Times of London reports. The Nepenthes attenboroughii, which could number only a few hundred specimens, was discovered in 2007. Attenborough says he’s delighted to lend his name to one of these “very dramatic plants. I’ve always thought they are remarkable things, very elegant and charming.”

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“We really wanted to name this particular plant after him as an expression of gratitude,” a discoverer says. Only one species is larger, and rodents are known to fall into its pitcher, where it uses enzymes to digest them. N. attenboroughii joins other species named after celebrities, notes the Guardian: Agra katewinsletae, a bug; a lichen called Caloplaca obamae; and 3 species of slime-mold beetles named after the Bush cabinet. (Read more Sir David Attenborough stories.)

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