- Three species of pitcher plant, Nepenthes lowii, N. rajah and N. macrophylla, all produce modified leaves which serve as tree shrew toilets They capture nutrients from animal faeces in mountain habitats where insects (the diet of most pitcher plants) are scarce.
- drawing by C. Thorogood, Oxford – New Phytologist website.
Meanwhile, in Chelsea, a plumber named Thomas Crapper designed a classic wc structure.
His King’s Road shop is in the opening sequence of Joseph Losey’s 1963 film, The Servant.
Some insects walk on fast-moving water.
ME Santos et al (Science 358, October 2017) identify two genes that control fan development on the mid-legs of Rhagovelia.
Genes in a single lineage help these Hemiptera inhabit previously inaccessible environments.
Pulse, the Linnean Society’s newsletter 34, June 2017, has an article entitled Lampblack and Lead, by E. Rollinson.
(H. Bradbury, 1843, 1859)
It tells how G. Cardano gave instructions back in 1550: ‘A fresh leaf is rubbed with verdigris and carbon; soaked in the right amount of colour it is printed on one of two large sheets of paper, so that an almost life-like image remains.’ (De Subtitilitate, Book XIII). Earlier, a physician named Conrad von Butzbach, in his 1425 Codex Auratus, coated paper with oil and used soot from a candle flame to make an impression of a plant specimen.
This year’s sculpture exhibition in Regent’s Park London is brought forward to the summer, many weeks before the Frieze Art show. As usual, some of the exhibits have a scientific theme.
T. Kuwata’s ceramic shapes look like excrement or blue slime on golden or pink phalluses.
The aluminium Silver Moon by U. Rondinone reflects the vegetation and human onlookers around it. But it is a dead tree with broken branches. Without life it has a ghostliness in the late afternoon sun.
M Barcelo’s elephant has an unnatural balance and a rough texture. It is 8m high and wants to penetrate the earth.
A headless figure beside the wheel is by M. Abakanowicz, compares fragile organic form with heavy machinery. That is the painful business of war and of working the land.