FunNature & AnimalThey describe a new carnivorous plant in Spain

They describe a new carnivorous plant in Spain

A team of researchers from the Department of Environmental Sciences and Natural Resources of the University of Alicante and the University Institute for Biodiversity Research has announced the discovery of a new insectivorous plant that is found in a very localized area, south of the province of Valencia.

In a statement, these scientists point out that this species, baptized as Pinguicula saetabensis – this name refers to the Roman town Saetabis Augusta, the current Játiva, which is not far from where it grows – is very delicate, and it how its leaves, located at the base, are covered with glands in which the insects that serve as a nutritional supplement remain attached. The flowers, of a striking bluish color, hang from the end of a long peduncle, and their small, round fruits contain a large number of seeds.

It develops on slopes, shelters and on calcareous rocky walls, near the towns of Enguera and Mogente, where it is endemic. The humid substrates in which it thrives are in shady enclaves, since it does not take well to be exposed to direct sunlight.

In a study published in the journal Plant Biosystems , the authors of the finding –the professors of the aforementioned Alicante institution Manuel Benito Crespo, Mario Martínez-Azorín and María Ángeles Alonso– clarify that, in fact, it was discovered at the beginning of the year 2000. No However, during this time it had been taken by the species Pinguicula mundi and Pinguicula vallisneriifolia , present in the Betic and Subbetic mountain ranges of Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha, and with which it maintains a certain resemblance .

“Although it shares a similar habitat and some morphological features with some populations that grow at the source of the Mundo river, in Albacete, it is well defined by some exclusive floral and reproductive characters,” these botanists point out. The morphological and phylogenetic work promoted by the Botanical Research and Plant Conservation Group of the University of Alicante have shown that it is an unpublished plant.

Urgent measures

“Species like these, which grow in highly fragile environments, function as indicators of the quality of ecosystems. It is a milestone of great significance, not only scientific, but also social “, emphasize the experts. In fact, they indicate that the different administrations must take measures to protect the populations of Pinguicula saetabensis , which are now in danger of extinction.

The essay also sheds light on the diversity of the genus Pinguicula , small plants popularly known as greases that are very widespread in the northern hemisphere. In this variety of flytraps, the insects are externally digested, which provides them with nitrogen, calcium, magnesium and other elements that they would hardly obtain otherwise.

Reference: Morphological and molecular data support recognition of a new rupicolous species of Pinguicula (Lentibulariaceae) from the Iberian Peninsula. Manuel B. Crespo et al. Plant Biosystems (2018). DOI: 10.1080 / 11263504.2018.1461702

Image: University of Alicante

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