Better know a kind of rubbish carnivorous plant that has maybe given up on carnivoring: Nepenthes hemsleyana (previously Nepenthes rafflesiana elongata)
Okay, now that everybody’s up to speed on pitcher plants (if you’re not up to speed on pitcher plants, we can give you a few minutes to catch up), we can move on to the fun pitcher plants! Like the ones that have given up on trying to eat things. Nepenthes hemsleyana, in particular, has given up on trying to eat things in favor of trying to get bats to stuff themselves down their pitchers. By and large, it’s successful.
Above: What the fucking fuck, plants?
Nepenthes hemsleyana, nee Nepenthes rafflesiana elongata, was called “elongata” because, compared to regular Nepenthes rafflesiana, it has a much longer, slightly narrower cup. It also differs from regular, fully-functional, non-shaming-their-parents pitcher plants by not bothering with nectar, volatile compounds meant to attract prey, or much in the way of digestive fluid. Instead, they have enough space for several bats, a horizontal ribbing structure that bats can rest against instead of trying to perch on something else, and a near-limitless supply of guano so long as they keep the bats happy.
Above: A happy bat.
So, rather than being the mightiest of all plants, stalking and eating animal prey, they’ve settled for running a bat-hotel in exchange for fertilizer. Aaaaaaaaaaaaand they actually do really well out of the exchange.
These plants specialize in regions where their preferred insects are thin on the ground most of the time and an arthropod food supply is unreliable at best. Since the bats don’t exit their roosts before relieving themselves, the plant can then extract as much nitrogen and trace minerals as they need from the bats’ waste products. They get to cut back on the production of metabolically expensive pitcher fluid and prey attractants, and the bats get a snug place to roost during the day that leaves them with a lower load of ectoparasites because guess what else can’t stick to the walls of this plant? That’s right: bat parasites.
The pitcher plant even goes the extra mile of providing enough space for an adult bat plus two babies, because the preferred bat species keeps their young with them for up to two months before they’re ready to strike out on their own, meaning that a goddamned pitcher plant is more sensitive to the needs of the parents of young children than most US employers.
[DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2010.1141 ; 10.1007/s00442-013-2615-x ]
The premise of minimum wage, when it was introduced, was that a single wage earner should be able to own a home and support a family. That was what it was based on; a full time job, any job, should be able to accomplish this.
The fact people scoff at this idea if presented nowadays, as though the people that ring up your groceries or hand you your burgers don’t deserve the luxury of a home and a family, is disgusting.