Plants That Eat
Carnivorous plants, also known as insectivorous plants are plants that capture and digest insects, bugs or other small animals by using ingenious traps and pitfalls. There are a very diverse group of these insect eating plants of at least 600 known species in this fascinating, bizarre and exotic organisms in the wonderful plant kingdom. Due to their ability to trap and get their nutrients from insects or animals, they are often found in soils that are lacking in nitrogen, such as rock outcrops and bogs.
There exist a variety of mechanisms that trap and capture prey. Some are active traps that move and some are passive. Among those commonly found carnivorous plants that digest insects are the pitcher plants that have a lidded leaf that are filled with liquid or enzyme. These are bug eating plants that are passively collecting preys and digesting them. Venus Flytrap uses rapid leaf closure like a snap traps to actively capture insects.
There are currently 5 known types of trapping used by the carnivorous plants:
- Lobster-pot traps that will force the prey with inward-pointing hairs to move towards the plants digestive organ.
- Bladderworts that works by creating internal vacuum with a bladder which then sucks in the prey.
- Snap traps that uses a leaf reaction to close very rapidly and trapped the prey.
- Flypaper traps are plants with sticky mucilage to stick the preys.
- Pitfall traps are those that has a pool of bacteria or digestive enzymes.
These carnivorous plants will then use their bacteria or enzymes to digest their prey via a chemical breakdown process to extract nitrogen from the protein. Due to the lack of nutrient in their hostile natural growing environment, these plants need to supplement their diet with salts and nitrogenous compounds from the end products of the captured prey to survive. Most of these plants that eat insects uses photosynthesis from water, sunlight and carbon dioxide to create food just like any other plants.
Bug Eating Plants
To qualify as a real insect eating plant, it has to have the ability to capture and then digest its prey. Some of the commonly popular carnivorous plants are such like Sundew (Drosera), Pitcher Plant (Sarracenia) and Venus Flytrap (Dionaea).
Contrary to the Hollywood movies, there are no meat eating plants that will hunt for humans. Those are purely fictitious.