Carnivorous Plants

Carnivorous plants are plant species that have the ability to capture prey and use its nutrients.The carnivorous plants are species plants that awaken the imagination of humans. Often presented as dangerous in films and cartoons, they are generally small and do not harm large living beings. Currently, it is estimated that there are an average of 600 different species of plants of this type. The vast majority of representatives can be found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the globe.

→ What is a carnivorous plant?

A carnivorous plant, also called an insectivore, is a vegetable capable of attracting, capturing and using its prey as a way of complementing the nutrients necessary for its survival. This strategy adopted by carnivorous plants is essential, as they are usually found in soils that are low in nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates.

Carnivorous plants, although also called insectivores, do not use nutrients only from insects. They are able to capture and digest other organisms, such as snails, spiders, centipedes and even frogs and rodents.

It is worth noting, however, that, despite capturing animals, this plant is autotrophic, that is, it is capable of producing its own food. Like other plant organisms, these species perform photosynthesis , a process in which light energy is transformed into chemical energy.

 Adaptations of carnivorous plants

Carnivorous plants present a series of adaptations in their morphology that guarantee the capture and use of the nutrients of their prey. Among the main adaptations observed, the sticky leaves and urns full of attractive substances stand out.

The Dionaea , for example, presents a sheet specialized and sensitive enough that closes when touched by an insect. Species of the genus Nepenthes have an urn with a substance that helps to attract victims. The Drosera, in turn, has rich trichomes in sticky substances that trap the captured animal.

We can also mention the technique adopted by Philcoxia minensis, a very peculiar and recently discovered mechanism. This species, which lives in Serra do Espinhaço (MG), has sticky underground leaves that are specialized in capturing nematode worms present in the soil.

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