You are probably familiar with the fact that animals like lions, cats, and dogs eat meat as a food source to survive. But, you may be unaware of the fact that many species of plants also eat meat as their food source. These plants are called carnivorous plants that rely on smaller animals such as insects and frogs as their food source.
Why do Plants Eat the Meat?
Carnivorous plants are mostly found in the places where the soil is poor in minerals. So, they can’t get necessary minerals with the help of their roots. They had to find a way to get rich food source. For this, these plants have evolved to catch and digest the small creatures like bees, flies, and smaller frogs.
How do They Catch the Bugs?
There are about 630 known species of the carnivorous plants around the Earth. These species have evolved 5 different types trapping mechanisms to catch their prey. Each species of these plants use anyone trapping mechanism. These trapping mechanisms are:
1. Pitfall traps
Plants that use this trap have funnel-shaped slippery leaves. When a bug lands on their leaves, it just slides to the bottom of the leaf and falls into their digestive enzymes pool where they are digested. “Heliamphora chimantensis” is the species of plants that use this trapping mechanism.
2. Flypaper traps
In this trap, plants use special glue on their leaves that is secreted by their glands. When bugs sit on their leaves, they are stuck on it and can’t fly away. “Drosera capensis” uses this trapping mechanism.
3. Snap traps
In this trap, plants catch their prey with their mouth shaped leaves whose outer edge is covered with spiky hairs. When a bug lands on its leaf, it senses its movement and shuts instantly. “Venus Flytrap” uses this kind of trap to catch bugs.
4. Bladder traps
The plants that use this trap lives in the water. They just suck-in the insects from the water in their bladder for digestion. “Utricularia vulgaris” uses this kind of trap.
5. Lobsters-pot traps
It is the chamber in the plants which is easy for the bugs to enter but very difficult to go outside. Also, it has inward pointing bristles which further makes the outside route more difficult. “Genlisea violacea” uses this kind of trap.
How Much Bigger They Can Grow?
Don’t be afraid! Carnivorous plants mostly grow up to 12 inches (1 foot) long, so they are unlikely to trap people and bigger animals. However, some of the species can grow up to about 3 three feet long.
- Venus flytrap plants are very famous. Probably due to their jaw shaped leaves that catch the bugs.
- Carnivorous plants grow in the US, more than any other country.
- Curious people around the World also grow carnivorous plants in their gardens (JUST FOR FUN!).