There are around 580 species associated with carnivorous plants.
Carnivorous plants are plants that obtain part or most of their nutrition by consuming and trapping animals; they have fascinated people for hundreds of years for the originality of their survival methods.
They are flowering plants of global distribution with leaves adapted to trap small animals, particularly insects, which is why they are also called insectivorous plants.
Carnivores are type of plant part of the chain food in a very original way.
Carnivorous plants actually get their energy from photosynthesis, just like other plants. As you probably know, in photosynthesis, plants use light energy to make sugar from CO2 and water.
Oxygen is a waste product. Plants create other molecules from sugar, such as starch, as energy storage, or cellulose, as construction.
Carnivorous plants use prey to absorb the nutrients they need, as they grow in places where there are not many nutrients from the soil. Many different types of plants have very different structures from one another. From vibrantly colored leaves, simulations to flower types, some create sweet sugar secretions and some produce a strange smell irresistible to victims who fall into them.
There are five fundamental capture mechanisms found in carnivorous plants:
Passive prey traps on a rolled sheet that includes a group of digestive enzymes or bacteria located at the bottom of a cone where they ultimately fall to be digested.
Paper fly traps use a sticky mucilage to which it sticks, and the more it tries to break free, the more it becomes entangled in the sticky hairs of the fly. As an example of this type, the Drosera, or Rocío del Sol, is found in the photo on our cover.
Quick traps use quick movements of the leaves thanks to sensitive endings that detect prey, and catch it in fractions of a second.
Bladder traps suck the prey with a urinary bladder that generates an internal vacuum after the prey pinks the nerve endings outside the trap.
Lobster traps, also known as eel traps, induce prey to move towards a digestion organ with hairs pointing inward.
Most carnivorous plants consume flying, foraging, or crawling insects that hover around. Those that live in or near water catch very few aquatic prey, such as mosquito larvae, tiny fish, and frogs tiny.
The diet of some very large species also includes rats and mice. Using enzymes or bacteria, carnivorous plants digest their prey through a chemical degradation process analogous to digestion with digestive juices from their prey.
The end products, especially nitrogenous compounds and salts, are absorbed by plants to allow their survival in environmental conditions that would otherwise be marginal or hostile.
Some popular catchers ...
Dionaea muscipula, also known as the Venus flytrap, is one of the best known carnivorous plants. Once an insect enters the trap, it touches the tiny hairs on the leaves. This sends impulses throughout the plant causing the leaves to close. Carnivorous plants do not need to feed every day.
Most are herbaceous perennials less than 30 cm tall, often only 10 to 15 cm. Some species of Nepenthes, however, grow into large shrubby vines.
The giant mountain pitcher plant, Nepenthes rajah, is the largest carnivorous plant in the world. Native to Borneo, in the "stomach" of this plant can be found from small rodents, lizards to small decomposing birds; although like the other carnivorous plants its regular diet is the insects flying like mosquitoes up ants.
Unfortunately, this plant is on the red list of the International Union for Conservation as an endangered species, due to the progressive clearing of the humid forests where it resides to allow passage to cultivation areas, especially for the production of palm oil.
The fastest carnivorous plants are aquatic bladderworts, which use suction traps to catch prey such as small crustaceans, insect larvae, and even young tadpoles. A species has been recorded that traps victims in as little as 5,2 milliseconds, although around 9 milliseconds is the most typical period of time.
Having carnivorous plants in your garden can help you control the insect infestation in a natural way, apart from giving your garden color and originality. We recommend you also ask about sowing citronella if that's your problem.
If you are surprised that a plant can eat insects, you may not have heard of the entomophagy. Yes, human beings have eaten insects for thousands of years, and in many countries they are part of the local gastronomic wealth. You dare?