Carnivorous plants, also known as meat-eating plants, derive most of their nutrients excluding energy from trapping and consuming animals, especially insects and other arthropods. They often live and grow in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients like acidic rock outcroppings and acidic bogs. Here is a series of pictures that provide you some basic knowledge about the plants.
Venus flytraps strongly develop in poor soil because they can find extra nutrients from meaty insects and arachnids. Tiny hairs on their clamshell-like traps help the trap snap shut when triggered. It takes days for enzymes to digest the plant’s prey.
An ant walks a dangerous line in the maw of a Venus flytrap
Venus flytraps are among few meat-eating plants that can move quickly enough to catch bugs and even small mammals for their digestion. The trapped Pacific tree frog in this image can be a typical example.
A Pacific tree frog is caught by the Venus flytrap
Sundews, which are found on every continent except Antarctica, can ensnare creepy-crawlies on their pink stalks and then absorb the nutrients from these bugs.
Sundew looks pretty in pink
Like Venus flytraps, sundews can move their tentacle-like appendages in response to preys’ stimulation. However, the plant must depend on a sticky mucus to trap bugs because they move relatively slowly compared with Venus flytraps.
Mucous trap of sundews
The cobra lily plant hides a pit of horrors. When bugs are lured into the pitcher by sweet-smelling nectar, they will have to face with a maze of wrong exists, only few can overcome the trap. These victims are normally down the slippery tube to a small pool of bacteria-rich water, where they become plant food.
Murderous maze of cobra lily
Sarrancenia minor, a hooded pitcher plant, grows in coastal regions from Florida to North Carolina. Its white patches let light into the hood to lure insects further inside.
Hooded pitcher plant - Sarrancenia minor
Nepenthes rafflesiana elongate, another Borneo pitcher plant, becomes an ideal roost for small woolly bats. Both of them get benefits, bats can find a place to sleep during the day while the pitcher plant receives the guano.
Borneo pitcher plant - Nepenthes rafflesiana elongate
Some carnivorous plants find out a creative way of getting their nutrient fix. For example, the Nepenthes lowii pitcher plant in Borneo attracts tree shrews with sweet nectar. If the shrews need to relieve themselves while eating, they are perfectly positioned on the pitcher plant. As a result, the plant can get between 57 percent and 100 percent of their nitrogen from shrew poop.
Nepenthes lowii pitcher plant
According to a 2011 study by Philippe Marmottant and colleagues, the trap of the aquatic bladderwort plant Utricularia vulgaris closes 100 times faster than a Venus flytrap. Though the plant’s trap is only few millimeters long, it can generate a suction force 600 times as much as that of gravity, catching tiny aquatic crustaceans and other unlucky preys.
The aquatic bladderwort plant Utricularia vulgaris