BLOODTHIRSTY PLANTS: THE STATIONARY CARNIVORES – PART 2
I hope everyone enjoyed reading last week’s article and learning about snap, pitfall and flypaper traps. This week we will be taking a look at the rest of the different types of carnivorous plants, which are lobster pot traps, bladder traps, and borderline carnivorous plants. Now then lets begin with lobster pot traps which are essentially deadly Chinese finger traps.
Carnivorous plants that utilize lobster pot traps are probably the laziest of all the carnivorous plants and are usually aquatic. This may seem like an odd way to describe a plant but, unlike the other carnivorous plants the lobster pot trap doesn’t even have to move to catch its prey. The prey simply has to accidentally wander inside and suddenly its trapped and can’t escape. This happens because lobster pot trap plant entrances are one way only. They manage to do this in a few different ways. The main way it does this is by having leafy projections pointing inward to facilitate travel inside the plant but block escape. Some traps curve inward while others use modified leaves with spiky projections to prevent escape. The movement of water through the trap also provides a current that pushes the prey inside and helps prevent escape. The next type of plant, the bladder plant, takes the final method of the lobster pot trap to an extreme level to capture its prey.
Bladder trap plants are aquatic carnivorous plants that utilize pressure to capture their prey, they are
also my favorite type of carnivorous plant. In order to do this they take major advantage of the fact that they are underwater. First the bladder plant pumps all of the water out of its bladder chambers which are basically little plant bulbs. Once all the water is pumped out there is a vast difference in pressure between the outside that is filled with water and the waterless bulb. This happens because the water wants to fill the bulb that is currently filled with air. The plant takes advantage of this pressure difference by opening a bulb when prey is nearby. This causes the water to quickly get sucked into the bulb and if the prey was in that portion of water it also will get sucked into the bulb. Once inside it seals itself and there is no escape.
Last are the borderline carnivorous plants. These are plants that do not directly absorb the amino acids and proteins of their prey, instead they have an intermediate that breaks the prey down and then gives the plant its food source. I briefly wrote about a borderline carnivorous pitcher plant last week that wasn’t filled with digestive enzymes but instead is filled with bacteria. The bacteria are the ones that actually break down the prey and the plant then eats the bacterias byproducts. The plant genus Roridula is also a borderline carnivorous plant and has developed a symbiotic relationship with a species of assassin bug. Roridula utilizes the same trap as a sundew but without the digestive enzymes or the ability to curl up its leaves. Instead assassin bugs will come and eat the stuck insects and the plant gains nutrition from its excrement.
I hope everyone enjoyed reading about some of the lesser known plants in the world and learning that just because something can’t move around doesn’t mean it can’t still be a predator. Carnivorous plants also demonstrate that even if there is an area that seems like it isn’t possible for life to exist somehow nature always finds a way. A little off topic but the best example of this I know is a fish that literally lives in sulfuric acid. The fish lives in a place where no other organism would be able to survive. In a way this applies to everyday human life as well. Even if someone feels alone, or like they can’t find their place in society or in life, just remember that nature finds a way to survive no matter the scenario and since you are a product of nature that means you can as well.