Carnivorous plants are plants that derive most of their nutrients from trapping and eating animals or protozoans, typically bugs and other arthropods. Carnivorous plants have accommodated to grow in places where the soil is thin or sparse in nutrients. Carnivorous plants can be observed in all regions except Antarctica, as well as many Pacific islands.
Carnivorous plants use the “attract, lure, and trap” system to hunt down animals. This article will explore different kinds of carnivorous plants and how their trapping mechanism.
- Pitfall trap: Popular to these types of traps in carnivorous plants are the pitcher plants. The plants’ pitchers can catch both smaller and bigger organisms (as big as rodents and rats). These passive carnivorous plants catch their prey when these victims slip through the plants opening down to their chamber. The pitcher plant’s section is filled with acid enzymes for digestion purposes.
- Flypaper trapping mechanism: The use of a natural glue-like or sticky trap is common to sundews and butterworts plants. Carnivorous plants that use this kind of trapping mechanism can catch smaller insects like flies and fungus gnats. These plants secrete a very sticky glue through their mucilage glands (sometimes are very short like that of the butterworts and sometimes longer glands like that of the sundews) and trap smaller insects.
- Snap trap mechanism: Venus flytrap and the carnivorous waterwheel plant are the two best examples of this trapping mechanism. When triggered by small insects’ presence on their clamp-like leaves, these plants close in a fraction of a second and ambush its prey for digestion. Contrary to other types of traps in carnivorous plants, the snap trap is a harsh response on the plant’s part to deceive its prey and keep that loot alive for days until it’s entirely digested. Talk about digesting an insect alive.
- Lobster Pot trap: Common to aquatic carnivorous plants, the lobster pot trapping mechanism allows prey to enter into the plants’ system (leaf) easily, but its exit is complicated. These plants have roots pointed to a specific direction, trapping their prey without challenges. Usually, corkscrew plants and genlisea use this method.
- Borderline Carnivores: The borderline carnivores have almost the same trapping mechanisms as the carnivorous plants. They trap insects and enjoy nutrients by absorbing them slowly. However, they don’t directly eat these creatures. Some of the plants that use such mechanisms are the Catopsis berteroniana, ibicella lutea, Roridula.