Carnivorous plants are quite widespread throughout the world. Insects form the basis of their diet; therefore, carnivorous plants are also often called insectivores.
Predatory plants are a miracle of nature. They have surprisingly adapted to life in places characterized by a lack of nutrients in the soil. These plants have become predators! The need to survive requires them to be able to catch live prey.
Carnivorous plants obtain food in five ways. Some of them use trapping leaves, which have the shape of a jug; others are sticky traps; the following are traps of the type of crust; the fourth are suction traps; and finally, the fifth are the flapping leaves. However, it should be borne in mind that the method of obtaining food is not tied to a specific family.
The trap itself usually works like this: an insect, which is attracted by the leaves or flowers of the plant, lands on one of the leaves, which have a smooth surface. Sliding down, the insect drowns in the digestive juice of the plant. Over time, the plant will absorb all of its nutrients.
Carnivorous plants have developed many ways to lure insects. For example, in some predatory plants, the edges of trapping leaves are bright red, while in others, the inner walls of the leaves secrete a sugary substance that attracts insects.
The sugary liquid of Sarracenia contains an intoxicating substance. It quickly euthanizes the insect in the jug, which, moreover, cannot get out because of the overhanging lid - it is formed by hairs hanging down.
Any insect, getting inside the jug, is doomed to death. This is not true. For example, mosquito larvae can easily live inside it, and there is nothing particularly stopping adults from flying in and out of this very jug. Some spiders even establish their home in it. However, most insects are influenced by enzymes that accelerate the dissolution of their flesh.
Pemphigus lures the victim with water. Bubbles that protrude from the leaves of this plant lure prey. The principle of operation is as follows: first, thanks to special glands, water is pumped out of the bubbles. Then the valve of the trap opens, dragging along with the water and the caught insect.
The Venus flytrap is a well-known predatory plant. Even with the naked eye, you can see how the trap of this plant, the maximum size of which is only three centimeters, slams shut. This plant grows in the swamps of North and South Carolina. Each leaf of the Venus flytrap is presented in the form of a petiole and a trapping plate. The trap itself is formed by a kind of disk, on the edges of which there are nectar glands - they are necessary for the plant to attract insects to itself. The digestive glands, with the help of which the Venus flytrap digests its prey, are in the middle of the trap. The mechanism for triggering the trap is designed in such a way that it does not close again, for example, during rain: the trap collapses after it is twice irritated. If the sheet is suddenly closed "by mistake", then within the next two days it will definitely open. If the plant has caught a large prey, then the leaf will be completely closed for about a week (or maybe more).
Sundew is another known predatory plant. About 130 species of this plant are known. They can be found in the Australian subtropics and tropical swamps. And some have "climbed" into the tundra - they can be found even beyond the Arctic Circle. Sundew prey is mainly small insects, but it is also able to capture larger prey. The sundew got its name due to the small droplets on the leaf surface. They also attract insects along with the bright (reddish) color of the leaf and the smell emanating from it. True, the insect has a chance to free itself until it is completely bogged down in the sticky liquid.
Representatives of the genus Nepentes are the most powerful among carnivorous plants. About 80 species are part of this genus; plants grow mainly in tropical forests with abundant moisture. Basically, these are vines, the length of which can reach several meters. Some species grow on open, sunny slopes, such as low shrubs. Jugs appear at the ends of the leaves, at first they are completely closed with a special lid, which opens a little later. Depending on the species of these carnivorous plants, the sizes of the jugs vary from three to forty centimeters. The color of the jugs can also be different - there are green, brown, red and white colors.
Nepentes are capable of catching large prey. Some species are able to catch toads, small rodents and birds. But mostly insects are included in the diet of nepentes. The method of foraging in Nepenthes differs somewhat from other carnivorous plants. The contents of the jug are protected by a lid, which also serves as a landing site for flying insects. This lid, along with the surface of the jug itself, emits a special nectar, which, together with its bright color, attracts prey. An insect caught here quickly falls down, since the inner surface of the jug is very slippery, and gets into the liquid. Its enzymes process food.
The fatty ones have real roots. This distinguishes them from other genera of insectivorous plants. A large number of glands are found on the upper leaf side of these plants. The function of some is to excrete sugary mucus - it is a trap for small insects. The other glands' job is to generate enzymes. They are essential for the digestion of food. Insects, hitting on the leaf of the fatty, naturally begin to move, hoping to get out. However, their movements lead to the fact that the leaf begins to curl, and the insect is processed by the mucus of the plant.