Predators and Prey

White-topped Pitcher Plant

White-topped Pitcher Plant

Pitcher plants are carnivorous plants whose prey-trapping mechanism features a deep cavity filled with liquid. This is known as a pitfall trap. Insects such as flies are attracted to the cavity formed by the cupped leaf, often by visual lures and nectar bribes. When moistened by condensation or nectar, the rim of the pitcher is slippery, causing insects to fall into the trap. Liquid contained within the pitcher traps drown the insect, and their bodies are gradually dissolved. This particular Pitcher plant was found in the Mediterranean House at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Speaking of prey, Commerce our everyday bank, has settled a class action lawsuit and Dave, Anne and I are in their preyed upon class. According to the notification that we received, Commerce improperly posted debt card transactions from highest to lowest dollar amount to increase the number of overdraft fees charged to customers. We three have all been negligent of not studiously monitoring our bank account balances, but I can remember one weekend trip from Rochester to Toronto that Dave made. He had miscalculated his available funds, but because he was on holiday he was freer than normal with his debit card. There were several hundred dollars in overdraft fees and all for a sum total that was less than a single fee. Here is an example; Dave would purchase a candy bar for $1.39. Commerce charged a $25 overdraft fee for that transaction. We’re not done though; because this was an international transaction a few cents transaction fee was also charged, along with its own $25 overdraft fee. This pairing was repeated way too many times and all for less overdrawn money than a single overdraft fee.

The bank robber, John Dillinger was once famously asked why he robbed banks. “Because that’s where the money is”, was his reply. Dillinger used guns to steal with, but his theft only ran into the thousands. According to our notification, Commerce is on the hook for $18.3M in settlements. 30% of this settlement goes to the lawyers, but that still leaves over $12M in damages. Our actual damages were not so great, but if there are also punitive damages, cha-ching!

Leave a Reply