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Unusual representatives of the flora of our planet - predatory plants: photos, types and description

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We all know the basics of the food chain: plants get nutrients from sunlight, animals eat plants, and predatory animals eat other animals. However, even in this case, there are exceptions to the rule: there are predator plants that attract animals into a trap and then eat them (mostly insects, but snails, lizards, or even small mammals can also become victims). In this article, you will learn about 10 carnivorous plants, ranging from the famous Venus flytrap to the lesser-known Darlingtonia.

The main difference between tropical pitcher type Nepenthes, from other carnivorous plants is the size: the "jug" of this plant can reach a length of more than 30 cm, it is ideal for capturing and digesting not only insects, but also small lizards, amphibians and even mammals. (Doomed animals are attracted by the sweet smell of the plant, and as soon as they enter the pitcher, nepentes begin to digest them, and this process can take up to two months!) There are about 150 species of Nepenthes scattered around the eastern hemisphere, the pitchers of some plants are used as monkeys for drinking cups (because these animals are too large to be in the wrong place in the food chain).

Darlingtonia

Darlingtonia is a rare predatory plant that grows in the cold waters of the marshes of Oregon and northern California. This is a truly devilish plant: it not only lures insects into its jug due to its sweet aroma, but has numerous false “exits” in it, because of which its doomed victims make unsuccessful attempts to escape to freedom.

Strangely enough, naturalists of the Darlingtonia natural pollinators have yet to determine, it is known that a certain type of insect collects pollen from this flower and remains unharmed, but it is not known yet which one.

It is still unclear whether the plants of the genus Stilidium are truly carnivorous, or are simply trying to protect themselves from annoying insects. Some species are equipped with sticky hairs that capture small insects that have nothing to do with the pollination process, and their leaves secrete digestive enzymes that can slowly dissolve the unfortunate victims. To identify the value of insects consumed for the life of the stylium, further research is needed.

Rosolist grows in poor nutrient soils along the coasts of Spain, Portugal and Morocco, therefore it supplements its diet with rare insects. Like many other predatory plants on this list, the Rosolist attracts insects due to its sweet aroma, its leaves contain a sticky mucous substance that prevents the prey from moving, and then with the help of digestive enzymes, the unfortunate insects slowly dissolve and the plant gets the necessary nutrients.

Born in South Africa, roridula is a carnivorous plant, although it is virtually unable to digest insects captured with gummy hairs. The plant leaves this task to bedbugs of the species. Pameridea roridulaewith which it has a symbiotic relationship. What does Ridulla get in return? Waste bugs are an excellent fertilizer.

By the way, in the Baltic region of Europe, the fossils of Roridula, 40 million years old, were discovered, which is evidence of the wider distribution of this species during the Cenozoic era, relative to the current range.

The name of the plant was due to the wide leaves with an oily coating. This carnivorous plant is native to Eurasia and North, South, and Central America. Zhiryanka victims are immersed in sticky mucus and slowly dissolve with digestive enzymes. If the insects are trying to move, the leaves begin to curl slowly, and at this time the sticky mucus dissolves the prey proteins.

Unlike other predatory plants on this list, the genlisei ration most likely consists of the simplest and other microscopic organisms, which it attracts and eats using specialized leaves that grow underground. These underground leaves are long, light and externally similar to the roots, but the plant also has the usual green leaves that are above the ground and are involved in the process of photosynthesis. Genlisea is common in the regions of Africa, Central and South America.

Venus flytrap

Venus flytrap is another carnivorous plant: perhaps not the largest, but certainly the most famous in the family Droseraceae. It is rather small (no more than 15 cm in length) and its sticky “trap” the size of a matchbox.

Interesting! The Venus flytrap, in order to reduce false slamming due to falling leaves and pieces of debris, developed a unique trap trigger mechanism: it slams only when two different internal hairs are touched for 20 seconds.

Aldrewnda Bubbly

Aldronda bladder - water version of the flycatcher, has no roots, swims on the surface of lakes and lures animals into its small traps. The trap of this predator plant can shut in 1/100 of a second. Aldranda and Venus flytrap have a common ancestor - a predatory plant that inhabits during the Cenozoic era.

Cephalot attracts insects with its sweet aroma, and then lures them into a jug, where the unfortunate prey is slowly digested. In order to further entangle the prey, the lids of these pitchers look like translucent cages that give the victim hope to get out of them.

Unusually, but the cephalot is related to flowering plants (for example, apple trees and oaks), which is not typical for other carnivorous plants.

Why do they do it?

The reason why predator plants have appeared is simple. Most of the nutrients they need to get through the roots of the soil in which they are located, but due to the fact that in many parts of the world there is such a soil in which there is practically no substance necessary for the normal functioning of most plants, they had to adapt and receive them by eating other creatures. Only in this way they get the components necessary for life.

These plants can eat not only insects, but also arthropods. They have a digestive system - just like animals. Now scientists know more than 600 species of predatory plants. Each of them has its own diet and its methods of catching prey. Besides, they have various ways of enticing victims and peculiar traps.

In addition to unusual abilities, these plants for the most part have a very beautiful and bright color, and many have a strong odor. Among this diversity can be identified the most famous representatives of the predatory flora.

Species of predatory plants

The following is a description of predatory plants with photos and names:

    Darlingtonia. This is quite a rare plant that grows in natural conditions in the south of North America, for which it is also called California. Her habitat - reservoirs with running and cool water. And she lives under water.

This underwater predator feeds on various insects, small crustaceans and other river living creatures.

The way of catching them is rather peculiar. - it does not use its leaves directly, the victim falls into the trap through the crab claw, it is an asymmetrical process, a sort of mini-maze. After getting inside the insect is no longer a chance.

Darlingtonia affects him with bright colors of the inside of the trap, which leads to complete disorientation in space and further death.

Venus flytrap. In this case, the name speaks for itself. It can be called one of the most common and well-known representatives of carnivorous plants.

The food for the flycatcher are insects and arachnids. It is able to distinguish a living organism from a non-living.

The prey is caught as follows: The flycatcher has two leaves, which, when hit by the victims, instantly collapse and close, but if the insect reacts quickly, then there is an opportunity to get out.

The edges of the trap trap gradually begin to grow together. Digestion of prey occurs inside this peculiar stomach. Moreover, despite its danger, the flower has a very pleasant smell, thanks to which it attracts greedy insects. The picturesque view of the toothed leaves-traps makes it quite popular decoration of the room.

The edges of jugs greased with wax, trimmed with bristles or spines do not allow to get out of the tank, and the bright color of its inner side attracts the attention of potential prey.

There are a lot of Nepentes species, the smallest of them prey purely on insects, but large representatives of the genus can absorb small mammals, for example, mice, their jugs the size of a bottle and can hold up to a liter of digestive fluids.

There are different traps not only in size, but also in the shape of jugs, in some of the Nepentes they lie on the ground, in others they hang from the leaves like strange fruits.

Sundew. It grows in the far east of Russia and therefore tolerates cold. In size, the Sundew is small and preys on insects mainly during the period of pollination of the flower, although it does not disdain even small insects that accidentally fall on the leaves.

Its leaves are collected in a dense outlet and have movable tentacles with sweet nectar.

When the victim sits down to enjoy the juice, she falls into the trap, sticking tightly to the droplets at the ends of these tentacles.

The nutrients contained in the body of the ingested insect are necessary for the flower to form the ovary and allow the seeds to ripen.

It is worth noting that Sundew is used for medicinal purposes and often grows on window sills as an exotic pet.

Its lower leaves resemble translucent scales, and the leaves-traps are elongated in long, up to eighty centimeters in height of the pipe, speckled with prominent veins.

On top of this tube covers the growth of the sheet, preventing the water from flowing inward during the rain - similar to the "umbrella" covered Nepentes jugs.

The bright color of the traps and the odor of the secretions of nectar-bearing glands invites insects to certain death, but the larvae of meat flies and ossfexes used to live inside the leaves of Sarracene, taking away part of the prey from the plant.

It is important to note that Sarrasenia is easy to maintain and can grow in the open field where winters are mild enough for her.

Without being related to each other by direct relatives, many predatory plants, quite independently of each other, developed the same methods of survival in adverse conditions, on the lands poor in nitrogenous compounds, having learned to extract nutrients from foreign bodies. These extraordinary creatures will decorate any flower collection.

Sarracenia

A common carnivorous plant growing in swamps is sarracenia (Sarracenia). Its leaves and flowers have a bright color and are covered with streaks of crimson-colored capillaries. The shape of the leaves is similar to a vessel with a hood, filled with sweet juice. The insect victim arrives at the color and smell of nectar, sticks to the leaf and slips to the bottom, the leaf is wrapped. In the case of a false close sheet opens after some time and continues to "hunt". For processing the extraction plant allocates a special secret. The leaf remains closed until complete digestion and absorption of nutrients. Then the cycle repeats.

Sarracenia

In the natural environment occurs sarrrazeniya on the east coast of North America, in Texas, in the Great Lakes region, in the south-eastern part of Canada.

Pemphigus

The habitat of the pemphigus (Utricularia) is standing, fresh water or wet earth. In the wild flora, terrestrial and aquatic pemphigus, of which there are 220 species, are found on all continents except ice-covered ones.

It has no roots that provide nutrients, and it has to catch insects and small crustaceans.

Pemphigus

The trap is the bubbles with the similarity of the entrance, which opens, sensing prey. Bubbles along with the leaves are located under water. Only flowers remain on the water surface.
The signal for opening is given by villi-probes, only an insect or tadpoles will hook them. The bubble opens and absorbs the victim along with the water in a split second. Digestion begins.

Genlisea prefers a moist terrestrial or semi-aquatic environment. Distributed in the flora of Africa, South and Central America, where 21 plant species have been identified.

This is a small herb covered with yellow buds. Genlisei traps look like a crab claw, which hairs that grow at the entrance do not get out of.

Genlisea

A feature of the plant is the presence of leaves of two species. Some of them are terrestrial with the process of photosynthesis, while others have an underground location. Underground leaves replace rhizomes, absorb moisture and provide anchorage. They are like hollow spiral tubes to lure and assimilate the simplest organisms into which they are washed down by the flow of water. They will not be able to get out, as they will be overcooked earlier.

Ironing, sticky leaves serve as a tool for hunting fatfish (Pinguicula). There are 80 carnivorous plants of this species. They grow in Asia, on the European continent, in North and South America.

The bright green or pink color of leaves covered with slimy secret immediately attracts insects. There are two types of glands on the leaves. The acidoptera produces mucous secretions, covering the leaves with drops, and the sessile glands provide enzymes for processing and assimilation.

Zhiryanka

The carnivor of a larger number of zhiryanka remains throughout the year. Some species in winter form a dense outlet, lacking the ability to lure and absorb. With the arrival of summer, the plant blooms and throws out young, carnivorous leaves.

Nepentes (Nepenthes) lives in the rainforest and successfully absorbs insects. Outwardly, it resembles a vine, reaching 15 m in length. In the habitat in Madagascar, Sumatra, Borneo, India, China, Indonesia and Australia identified 130 species.

Liana is covered with leaves that form the antennae at the edge. Gradually, a flower-jug, which serves as a trap, grows from the antenna. In the rain, the jug is filled with water that the monkeys drink, for which the nepentes in their homeland have been called the “monkey cup”.

Nepentes

Flies and bugs that have flown to the flower quickly sink into the liquid and fall into the lower part of the bowl, where they are absorbed by the digestive glands.

Certain species of plants, for example, Nepenthes Rajah and Nepenthes Rafflesiana, successfully catch and peretravlivayut small rodents.

Insectivorous plants in the house

Predatory plants of some species are suitable for home keeping. They become an object for interesting observations and discoveries when they feed on a mosquito or annoying fly, saving us from their presence.

Such plants are unpretentious in the care. They are purchased in a flower shop and only follow the simple rules:

  • For the content you need a bright place without exposure to sunlight.
  • Most of the plants are moisture-loving, so watering should be regular.
  • Planted in vermiculite, perlite or moss. The substrate is not fertilized and fertile soil is not added.
  • Plants do not transplant. Only in the case of a strong growth roll over into a larger pot.
  • In winter, there comes a period of rest, which ends in the spring with the creation of new traps.
  • Beautiful flowers are recommended to remove, so as not to deplete the plant.
  • For feeding use insects natural habitat. Suitable, for example, fruit flies.

See also a video on the topic:

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