Tag Archives: carnivorous

Carnivorous Plants Part 2: Snappers, Bladders and Lobster-pots

Snapping traps are most commonly associated with the famous Venus flytrap, which quickly closes in response to a trigger hair being touched, however there is another plant, the waterwheel plant, which closes its feeding parts when triggered by aquatic prey. After the trap is closed and the prey contained the plant releases its digestive fluid. Bladder trap plants pump ions out of their bladders, which causes water to also leave the bladders, creating a partial vacuum. Trigger hairs alert the plant to nearby prey and cause the bladders to open up. The flow created by the bladder opening pulls prey into the bladder where it is digested. Finally, lobster-pot trap plants use small hairs inside specialized leaves to easily allow prey in, but not out. Water flow in the trap may encourage prey to continue toward their doom,  a stomach-like region of the leaf where the prey is dissolved.

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Carnivorous Plants Part 1: Pitfalls and Flypaper

Many plants that grow in nutrient poor environments need to develop a method of obtaining the nutrients they need. Now, since plants can’t just get up and move to find their nutrients they have to get them where they are. This has lead to the development of five methods for catching prey, which usually consist of small arthropods, such as insects. Pitfall traps are the trapping mechanism of pitcher plants. Insects land on the smooth walls of the pitcher and fall into a small pool of digestive fluid where they are broken down into the nutrients the plant needs. Flypaper traps are based on a sticky digestive fluid, which holds insects in place while they are dissolved. Some sundews wrap around their prey to facilitate this process. Tomorrow will involve the snapping traps, bladder traps and lobster-pot traps.

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