Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Most carnivorous plants had to adapt because their environments that no longer produced the nutrients they needed to flourish. Just like most species, they'll do what they can to survive. For many meat-eating plants, that means gulping down bugs, but for some it even extends to feeding on mice and frogs. They present many clever ways to lure in their prey to swallow them up.

Snap Traps: The most well-known plant to use the snap trap is the Venus flytrap. When opens, it offers what looks like a bright red landing pad for flying creatures. The plant has trigger hairs that, once touched, alert it to snap shut, often capturing its prey inside. As its victim struggles to escape, the plant is triggered yet again and continues closing until it becomes airtight. The bug eventually suffocates and the Venus flytrap absorbs its fluid. That's a pretty sophisticated mechanism.

Glue Traps: Glue seems perhaps the most obvious way to trap a fly, similar to the type of flypaper traps humans use. The traps is set either by using a nectar as a reward or some glimmering droplets that attract them. Some plants have a sticky substance that holds the insect until it dies, while others have adhesive tentacles that wrap around their victims. When you see it in action, it looks quite aggressive. Again, the insect suffocates and the plant digests it.

Slip and Fall Traps: Pitcher plants evolved into a funnel shape as a way to trap food. It's easy to go in, but the shape makes it difficult to come back out. Like many other plants, they attract insects with sweetness and bright colors. What's different about these plants is that they have a slippery area around the rim caused by either a waxy substance or water droplets. Before the unsuspecting victims know it, they slip and fall down into the funnel. Once dead, the bugs get absorbed into the plant.

Suction Traps: The trap is arranged by pushing water out and therefore creating a negative pressure inside the sealed bladder. The entrance to the plant has trigger hairs, when prey gets close, the bladder instantly opens up and quickly sucks the prey in. The bladder then closes up to prevent prey from escaping so it can ingest it as a food source.

Video of carnivorous bladderworts (Utricularia species) catch prey animals with suction traps > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb_SLZFsMyQ

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