Natures wonders: carnivorous plants (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, December 20, 2014, 15:05 (1985 days ago) @ David Turell


"The bladderworts (Utricularia) are one of the largest genera in carnivorous plants with over 200 species. Aquatic bladderworts catch their prey with highly sophisticated suction traps consisting of little bladders that produce a hydrostatic under pressure. A valve-like trap door opens upon stimulation and the surrounding water including tiny organism flushes in rapidly within three milliseconds. Once inside the trap, the prey dies of suffocation and is degraded by digestive enzymes. Due to the minerals provided by prey organisms, bladderworts are able to live and propagate even in habitats that are extremely poor in nutrients."

"Until recently, it was assumed that suction traps have to be triggered by movements of animal prey but new studies showed that aquatic bladders do require stimulation and "fire" even if they are not stimulated for a longer time. In the natural habitat, more than 50% of all bladders contained only immotile prey like algae, pollen bacteria and fungi but no animal prey that was capable to trigger and open the trap. Thus, prey capture without external stimulation is crucial for these plants."

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