Tree shrew on giant pitcher plant, Borneo

Tree shrew on giant pitcher plant, Borneo

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Credit: PAUL WILLIAMS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Tree shrew on giant pitcher plant. Bornean smooth-tailed treeshrew (Dendrogale melanura) on the lip of a pitcher from a Kinabalu pitcher plant (Nepenthes x kinabaluensis). These shrews and pitcher plants are endemic to Borneo and they have a unique relationship. The shrews sit on the lip of the pitcher and lick the nectar from the lid. It was once believed that the plants ate the rodents that slipped into the cups digestive juices, but in fact, in return for the sweet treat, the shrew uses the plant as a toilet. This provides the plant with a vital source of nutrients on the rain washed slopes. Photographed on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia.

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Keywords: angiosperm, angiosperms, animal, animal behaviour, animals, biological, biology, bornean, bornean smooth-tailed treeshrew, borneo, botanical, botany, dendrogale melanura, eating, endemic, fauna, feeding, flora, giant pitcher plant, kinabalu pitcher plant, malaysia, malaysian, mammal, mammals, mount kinabalu, mutualism, mutualistic, nature, nepenthes x kinabaluensis, no-one, nobody, pitcher-plant, pitchers, plant, plants, rodent, rodents, sabah, south-east asia, south-east asian, southeast asia, symbiosis, symbiotic, toilet, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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