Once people believed in the existence of amazing creatures: griffins, dragons, unicorns and monsters with human heads. But the most amazing were predatory plants, devouring people. In the 19th century, travelers were told about a tree from Madagascar. They said that he had tentacles, like green snakes, tenaciously seizing prey. Of course, this is only a Victorian bike, but as in any invention, it contained some truth.
The dark side of plants - murder and chaos
Exploring the slopes of Mount Kinabalu in Borneo, Victorian naturalists found something no less surprising - a representative of the fauna with leaves in the form of jugs, one of which contained a semi-digested rat carcass. This discovery has become a sensation.
It attracted the attention of the greatest naturalist of the time - Charles Darwin. Using painstaking experiments, he found out that many plants catch and kill insects in order to feed on them. For this purpose, they used methods no less terrible than any product of the Victorian fantasy.
- Any predators should catch and kill prey, and the plants have developed three mechanisms of hunting. Many act like sticky paper coated with a sticky substance that insects stick to.
- Others have leaves in the form of jugs. The vessels are filled with a liquid in which insects sink and digest. Some flowers predators are equipped with very clever traps.
- The third way is a trap. Like old mousetraps, insectivorous plants seize the prey. The discovery of these flowers caused a considerable noise. Do these predators catch insects? A copy was sent to the largest botanist of the time. The Swede, Carl Linnaeus, found this plant culture abominable and blasphemous, contrary to the divine order of things. Linney created a classification system for all living organisms, which is still in use. However, he refused to believe in the insectivorous plants.
Sundew - a flower that eats flies
More than a century later, Charles Darwin proved him wrong. He grew many predatory plants for his experiments, but most of all he was interested in a culture called sundew.
Darwin is famous for the theory of the origin of new species, but this unusual flower struck him so much that he wrote: “I am more interested in the drosser than the origin of all other species on Earth.” Rosyanka uses for hunting leaves. Insects stick to mucus, but first naturalists thought it was an accident.
Darwin proved that reality is more sinister. The results of the experiment struck and scared him. He put various substances on the leaves:
And fixed how the plants react. The milk made the leaf curl, the meat and urine did the same, and the plant did not react to the stone and paper. Darwin found that the reaction is provoked by substances containing nitrogen. He also discovered that the plant absorbs nutrients through the leaves. This predator, like animals.
But why did plants become insectivorous?
Mostly insectivorous plants live in places like swamps and marshes where the soil is poor nutrientssuch as nitrogen. Nitrogen is still there - it walks on six legs. The plant only needs to catch the beetle to get fertilizer.
As in Darwin’s experiments, sundew leaves are activatedwhen the insect is stuck. For half an hour, the nearest hairs lean towards the insect, sticking it stronger. Then the leaf is wrapped around the prey, the glands on the leaf surface release chemicals that dissolve and digest the insect.
Seeing this, Darwin wrote: "Sometimes it seems to me that the drosser is a disguised animal." In a sense, he was right. In the swamps of Florida, the sundew competes with other predators from the animal world. In some places the land is completely covered with a pink dew. Most often there is no shortage of prey, and the sundew feeds well.
But the plant has rivals - wolf spiders. Spider weaves a dense network above the ground. If someone steps on a web, then the vibration is transmitted to a spider hiding in its center, and it attacks with lightning speed. When the prey is not enough, the spider increases the size of the net to catch more insects and the sundew loses food.
Predator plants have other competitors. Rosyanka takes time to kill and digest the victim, and throwing insects attract attention little toads. They are found in these moist forests and often steal the dews of prey. Sticky traps of dews take different forms: from flat carpets to plants that grow up to 2–3 meters in height.
Sticky traps are so effective that other plants have developed similar methods. it hornedgrowing only in a few regions of South Africa. Like a sundew, it is covered with a sticky substance, although unlike a sundew, it is more like a resin. The droplets are more sticky than the mucus of the sundew and catch larger and stronger insects. Roridula has no digestive glands on the leaves. What does she do with booty?
It helps a tiny bug - bedbug. Slepnyak spends his whole life on the roredule. It has a non-stick wax coating and can safely walk through this forest from superglue. The gadfly is a predator. There are hundreds of them on a large plant — more than enough to recycle all insects caught by the roartail. Beetles are careful. Indeed, too large and dangerous prey can attack a trap. So, for the first 10 minutes, the blind man only assesses the situation and waits until the fly weakens.
Then youngsters emerge from the wild forest, anticipating a feast. At first, beetles are outraged by the company - fights break out here and there. But the prey is almost dead and everything is not to pamper. A stubby proboscis is not a bad one in a stubby, no worse than a medical needle, and it sticks it into a fly to suck the juices.
Even the barely-born beetles join the meal. After eating, the beetles leave their droppings on the leaves of the roraduli - ready digested fertilizerwhich is absorbed by the plant. Raudula and the gadfly are in a symbiotic relationship: without bedbugs, the ridula would not be a predator, and gadflies live in these sticky branches.
Sticky leaves supply insectivorous plants with all the nutrients they need to survive in wet forests and swamps, but one plant has gone even further. In nature, it grows only in a small stretch of wet pine forest in North Carolina - Venus flytrap. It evolved from a sticky trap of sundew. Slow folding of the leaf turned into a sensitive trap, able to grab an insect.
Samples of the plant were sent to Darwin and he grew them in a greenhouse to study. With careful consideration, he found that in addition to the spikes on the edges of the leaves on the surface of each lobe there are three fine hairs. It is reasonable to assume that this is a trigger. To test, Darwin touched one hair, but the trap did not always work. But when touching two hairs, the trap immediately slammed shut. There are reasons for it: energy is needed for shutting.
In nature, the flycatcher lives in places where heavy rains often occur and they absolutely do not need a trap to react to every raindrop. Touching two hairs simultaneously is harder, and the trap will not work by chance.
To shut the trap you need to touch two hairs with an interval of not more than 20 seconds. The beetle stimulates the first hair by launching the time bomb. Another touch and trap shut.
Insects have a quick reaction, but the predator plant is even faster - the trap closes in a third of a second. The spikes along the edges of the leaves intersect like a prison lattice, but so far not closely. There are also reasons for this: the hairs are so sensitive that they work even on tiny insects that are too small for a full meal and the gap between the bars of the prison allows the small insects to get out.
A few days later, if nothing touches the hairs, the trap opens again. More worthy prey remains inside, continuing to stimulate the hairs. Within a few hours, the walls of the trap close and the cells on the inner surface release substances that kill and digest insects. It's easy to see why Darwin called the flycatcher the most amazing plant in the world.
The flycatcher has lesser known relatives growing in the water - aldundunda bubbly. Because of the location of the branches, it looks like a water wheel, but its blades are deadly traps. Each trap is framed by sensitive hairs.
The traps are only a few millimeters long and work like a flycatcher. Aldrewda hunt shellfish and kopipodov. It is necessary to touch the hairs and the trap works almost as fast as the flycatcher. what amazingly - because these traps are in the water, which is much denser than air. Caught crustacean slowly digested.
Darwin investigated sticky traps and traps and proved that these plants are real predators. But there is a third type of trap, which Darwin was not so sure about - the trap pits of plants with trapping leaves. He suggested that they are insectivorous, and now we know that such traps are the most complex and cunning of all.
Trapping leaves sprang up independently of each other.
- both Americas
- in Australia,
- and in Southeast Asia.
They are beautiful, but the beauty of these flowers is deadly. Under it lie traps that attract and kill the unwary. This design struck Darwin, he doubted the natural origin of such complex systems. And in vain.
The answer lies in the swampy forests of tropical America. The trees are hung here. bromeliads - predatory plants, relatives of pineapples. Many grow as epiphytes, clinging to the branches and trunks of trees to rise above the earth closer to the sun.
But the roots that hang in the air cannot absorb water and nutrients from the soil. Instead, the leaves form a well in the center of the plant, where water is poured into the rain. There are leaves falling from the trees. So the plants get the necessary water and food from a personal source. Or not so personal?
For many creatures, the flowers of the bromeliad seem to be miniature ponds. In South America, tree frogs migrate from plant to plant in search of a well that is not yet occupied, that is, a place to breed. But some bromeliads are not so welcoming.
Like many bromeliads, bromeliad bromelia in the very center of the plant is a funnel, but inside it is acid and digestive enzymes. Its leaves are waxed and slippery, like ice. An ant that climbs on such a sheet slides and slides to the death well, where it will be digested and turned into food.
Starting from the simplest, nature has created more complicated traps by natural selection. One of the most elegant is hidden at the far end of the swampy pine forest in the southeastern United States. This is a carnivorous plant - sarracenia.
They grow long funnel flowers and attract insects. sweet nectar. Trying to get it, insects slide down. Mining falls to the bottom of the trap and cannot get out - it is impossible to climb the inner surface of the funnel. The victim dies, and the plant secretes enzymes and acid, splitting the caught insects.
Droplets of inviting sweet nectar protrude on the underside of a leaf covered with fine hairs on which it is difficult for the insect to hold onto. High noticeable funnels and attract insects with the promise of nectar are not worse than bright flowers. Insects are so busy eating nectar that they don’t notice how it becomes harder to hold on.
The walls of the funnel are slippery and there is no salvation, and the plant releases digestive enzymes, slowly dissolving the victim. Such a meal makes up for all the costs of producing sweet nectar, but sometimes labor is wasted. Sweet drops are eaten by a sailboat butterfly, too large to fall into a trap. And in many pitchers lives green spider-lynxwaiting for the opportunity to intercept prey from the plant.
Today, our interest in these amazing carnivorous plants is as great as after their discovery and scientists are probably still waiting new surprises. Over the past few years, about a dozen new species of insectivorous plants have been discovered, but there are hundreds more of unexplored regions, where dozens of new species are waiting to be discovered.
We are just beginning to explore the incredibly complex relationships of predator plants with animals and other organisms. Victorian tales of man-eating plants were just myths. But the discoveries of recent years have shown that in the world of insectivorous plants truth is much more surprising than fiction.
It is worth considering the most prominent representatives of the predatory family of flora:
- Sarracenia. It is an insectivorous plant, native to North America and Texas. The trapping part of a flower is a water lily that absorbs insects. The leaves are a funnel and rise above the plant. Due to this structure, rainwater does not fall into the water lily, which means that the gastric juice is not diluted. The edge of the flower gives off a special smell and is distinguished by a bright color that attract insects. Thinking that it is nectar, they fly on the slippery surface of the sarration and fall into the trap. After that, insects are digested with a special enzyme.
- Darlingtonia. The plant is quite rare. Its homeland is the south of North America, for which the flower was named Californian. Darlingtonia grows where there are reservoirs, and its habitat - under water. It feeds on various river species, insects and small crustaceans. Catching a plant of victims is not a leaf, but a crab claw. This is an asymmetric process, which resembles a maze in its structure. On the inside, the surface of the trap has a bright color, which leads to complete disorientation of the victim in space and the imminent death of the animal.
- Pemphigus. It grows in stagnant water or in moist soil, so it can be aquatic and above ground. In total, there are 220 species of this plant. It grows on all continents, except for those where there are ice coverings. The plant has no root system, so it receives all the nutrients from the eaten insects and small crustaceans. The traps are bubbles, which have a peculiar entrance that opens only when the pemphigus feels the prey. The bubbles themselves, like the leaves of the plant, are located under water, and only the buds are on the surface. As soon as the flower feels the prey, its traps open up and absorb the insect along with the water, after which its digestion begins.
- Genlisea. You can meet her in Africa, South and Central America. Currently studied 21 species of this carnivorous representative of the flora. Genlisea grows in a terrestrial wet or flood environment and is a small herb with a yellow flower that resembles a crab claw. Once in it, the insect cannot escape because of the multiple hairs that grow at the entrance to the inflorescence.
- Nepentes. It is a trapping water lily and belongs to tropical plants. Scientists have now studied 130 species of nepentes, which grow in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Australia, India, etc. Another name for nepentes is monkey cup, thanks to travelers who often observed monkeys drank water from this plant. A trap releases a sticky liquid in which insects drown and then are eaten.
- When writing his famous story "The flowering of a strange orchid," Herbert Wales focused on the stories of travelers who came from distant countries. They talked about the terrible man-eating plants that grow in tropical areas. As a result, they were never found, and modern plants are predators content with much more modest prey.
- Insectivorous plants became known in Europe in the 18th century. The English naturalist John Ellis described the plant Venus flytrap in 1769, and he first suggested that insects disappearing on a flower serve as food for the flower.
- Rafflesia is a large flower that can reach significant sizes (up to 1 m in diameter) and weigh up to 10 kg. It has no roots, stems and branches. Around the plant constantly flies flies - in spite of its external beauty, the flower exudes a stench. Rafflesia is actively used in medicine, especially in its homeland (Fr. Java). It helps women recover from childbirth, and men improve potency.
The largest insectivorous plant
Neventus raja, is considered the largest predatory plant, whose diet includes various rats and lizards. The place of its growth is the island of Borneo or Kalimantan (Southeast Asia). The flower belongs to a fading species.
You can meet him on Mount Kinabalu and surrounding areas at altitudes from 1500 to 2650 meters. Nepentus Raja is very fastidious in growing, he needs a certain soil - loose and wet, through which ground water can leak.
Predatory indoor plants: a list
Из существующих в мире 600 видов хищных растений культивированы только единицы.
В домашних условиях выращивают такие разновидности растительных хищников:
- Некоторые виды непентеса.
- Росянка. Чаще можно увидеть в доме королевский, английский и круглолистный вид.
- Sarracenia purpurea and its forms.
- Venus flytrap.
- Water and near-water pemphigus (more often those varieties that can be rooted).
- Aldrewda, which is grown in water.
Plant digestion mechanism
Each predatory plant has its own digestive mechanism, but most often small animals and insects are split by them with the help of special enzymes. After this, the obtained nutrient slurry is absorbed. That is, nitrogen, which the usual representatives of the flora obtained from the soil, predators, plants are extracted from a dead animal.
The organs of trapping, as a rule, are the leaves. Covering their sticky, with special hairs, the leaves can be bent inward and form a fist. In some species, the leaf resembles a water lily with a lid, getting into which the insect can no longer get out.
Caring for a carnivorous plant at home
- Lighting. It is necessary for all indoor insectivores. If it is not enough, then the bright representatives of the flora begin to lose their attractive color. In the winter, they will need additional artificial lighting.
- Temperature. For each species, the temperature regime is selected depending on the natural conditions and the place of natural growth of the flower. Plants from the temperate climatic zone, such as sundew, zhiryanka, sarracenia and Venus flytrap, feel comfortable at 18 - 22 degrees. They are not afraid of lower temperatures. But for nepentusa requires a high temperature, ranging from +22 degrees.
- Substrate. Soil should be similar to natural. The ideal is an acidic substrate (pH 5.0 - 6.2), in which organic and mineral fertilizers are present in moderate amounts. It is advisable to add peat mixed with sand.
- Humidity and watering. Water predatory plants need soft and warm water. In the summer it is done 2 - 3 times a week. In the cool season - 1 - 2 times. Also important is the humidity of the air, which should be above 60%. To achieve compliance with these requirements, you need to regularly spray the plants.
- Feeding and fertilizer. Since these plants are special, they should receive additional nutrition. It is necessary to fertilize the soil twice a month.
Top dressing is carried out by protein food. Flies, horseflies, slugs, cockroaches, spiders are suitable for this purpose. This is done with tweezers.
Can predatory plants harm humans
If in fantastic books, carnivorous plants, which act as a threat to people, are described every now and then, in real life, the person himself bears a danger to these species. The flowers catch insects and digest them with chemicals, their number is so small that they can not harm people.
Many predatory houseplants, by contrast, are very interesting for children. For example, the Venus flytrap. It can be fed with flies and pieces of meat, come up with a game - edible - inedible, etc.
Carnivorous plants are very unusual, but safe for humans. On the contrary, many species of such representatives of flora are listed in the Red Book and are on the verge of extinction. Cultivated specimens are fairly easy to grow at home, because if you find them on sale, be sure to have such an amazing green "pet."
Nepentes, a tropical insectivorous plant, is a different type of carnivorous plant with a trap that uses water lily trap leaves. There are about 130 species of these plants, which are widespread in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Australia, India, Borneo and Sumatra. This plant also received the nickname "monkey cup"as researchers often observed monkeys drinking rainwater from them.
Most species of Nepentes are high creepers, about 10–15 meters, with a shallow root system. From the stem, leaves are often visible with a tendril, which protrudes from the leaf tip and is often used for climbing. At the end of the antenna, the water lily forms a small vessel, which then expands and forms a bowl.
A trap contains liquid excreted by a plant, which may have a watery or sticky structure, and in which insects drown which are eaten by the plant. The lower part of the bowl contains glands that absorb and distribute nutrients. Most of the plants are small and they only catch insects, but large species such as Nepenthes Rafflesiana and Nepenthes Rajah, can catch small mammals such as rats.
3. Predatory plant genlisea (Genlisea)
Genlisea consists of 21 species, usually grows in a humid terrestrial and semi-aquatic environment and is common in Africa and Central and South America.
Genlisea is a small herb with yellow flowers that use a crab claw type trap. It is easy to get into such traps, but it is impossible to get out of them because of the small hairs that grow to the entrance or, as in this case, forward in a spiral.
These plants have two different types of leaves: photosynthetic leaves above the ground and special underground leaves that lure, catch and digest small organismssuch as the simplest. Underground leaves also play the role of roots, such as water absorption and attachment, since the plant itself does not have them. These underground leaves underground form hollow tubes that look like a spiral. Small microbes enter these tubes by means of a stream of water, but they cannot get out of them. When they get to the exit, they will already be overcooked.
4. Darlingtonia Californian (Darlingtonia Californica)
Darlington California is the only member of the Darlingtonia genus that grows in northern California and Oregon. It grows in swamps and springs with cold running water and considered a rare plant.
Darlingtonia leaves have a bulbous shape and form a cavity with a hole under the bloated, like a balloon, structure and two sharp sheets that hang down like fangs.
Unlike many carnivorous plants, it does not use trap leaves for a trap, but uses a crab claw type trap. As soon as the insect is inside, they are confused by the specks of light that pass through the plant. They land in thousands of thick, thin hairs that grow inward. Insects can follow hairs deep into the digestive organs, but cannot go back.
5. Pemphigus (Utricularia)
Pemphigus is a genus of carnivorous plants consisting of 220 species. They are found in fresh water or wet soil as terrestrial or aquatic species on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica.
These are the only predatory plants that use bubble trap. Most species have very small traps into which they can catch very small prey, such as protozoa. Traps range from 0.2 mm to 1.2 cm, while larger traps fall into larger traps, such as water fleas or tadpoles.
Bubbles are under negative pressure in relation to the environment. The opening of the trap opens, sucks the insect and the surrounding water, closes the valve, and it all happens in thousandths of seconds.
6. Toaster (Pinguicula)
Zhiryanka belongs to the group of carnivorous plants that use sticky, glandular leaves to lure and digest insects. Nutrients derived from insects, complement the soil, poor in minerals. There are approximately 80 species of these plants in North and South America, Europe and Asia.
Zhiryanki leaves are juicy and usually have a bright green or pink color. There are two special types of cells located on the upper side of the leaves. One is known as the peduncle gland and consists of secretory cells that are on top of a single stem cell. These cells produce mucus secretion that forms visible drops on the surface of the leaves and acts like sticky tape. Other cells are called sedentary glands, and they are located on the leaf surface, producing enzymes such as amylase, protease and esterase, which contribute to the digestive process. While many types of zhyryanok are carnivorous throughout the year, many types form a dense winter socket that is not carnivorous. When summer comes, it blooms, and new carnivorous leaves appear.
7. Rosyanka (Drosera)
Rosyanka is one of the largest genera of carnivorous plants, with at least 194 species. They are located on all continents, with the exception of Antarctica. The sundew can form basal or vertical sockets from 1 cm to 1 m in height and can live up to 50 years.
For dews are characteristic moving glandular tentacles, topped with sweet sticky secretions. When an insect lands on sticky tentacles, the plant begins to move the remaining tentacles in the direction of the victim in order to further trap it. Once the insect is trapped, the small sessile glands absorb it and the nutrients go in to grow the plant.
8. Biblis (Byblis)
Biblis or rainbow plant is a small species of carnivorous plants originally from Australia. Rainbow plant got its name for the attractive appearance of mucus that covers the leaves in the sun. Despite the fact that these plants look like sundews, they have nothing to do with the latter and are distinguished by zygomorphic flowers with five curved stamens.
Its leaves have a round section, and most often they are elongated and tapered at the end. The surface of the leaves is completely covered with glandular hairs, which secrete a sticky mucous substance that serves as a trap for small insects sitting on the leaves or tentacles of the plant.
The reason for the carnivorous plants
Almost everything that grows from the earth, feeds on its juices. To do this, they have a root system, often very branched, through which the nutrients enter the stem, and then are absorbed, turning into wood, fiber, leaves, and sometimes beautiful inflorescences pleasing the eye. The better the soil, the more opportunities. This applies to all types of flora, from grass to huge sequoias. Unfortunately, climatic diversity does not always contribute to the growth and survival of biological objects. The earth is not everywhere fertile. So we have to adapt, not only to people, but also to all the rest of our space satellites. After all, in essence, we are flying in space, surrounded by a dead vacuum, and our world has become alive because we have air, water, heat, and much more, which is extremely necessary. Carnivorous plants feed on creatures that are on the evolutionary ladder above them, not because of innate cruelty, they have to extract the substances necessary for their livelihood because they have nowhere to take them.
Food for predatory flowers are mainly insects. They rarely sit down on everything, except a little rest. Ghost bugs are also constantly looking for what to profit, such is the fate of all living beings on the planet. Of course, insectivorous plants might simply wait for a successful event, but then most of them would hardly have survived. Therefore, they take the initiative on the same principle as people who claim that luck is in their hands. In the absence of limbs, the predator plant uses the organs at its disposal, namely the leaves and flowers. It is possible to attract capricious insects with the scent, color and beauty that bears chamomiles, poppies or daffodils to captivate bees and butterflies, with the only difference being that they must be more seductive, at least from the point of view of insects.
Who can eat nepentes?
If the beauty of sarracenia, perhaps, ranks first among insectivorous flowers, then in terms of size, the priority is by right belonged to nepentes, the inhabitant of the South Pacific region. He lives in Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, China, India, as well as in the Philippines, Seychelles, Madagascar, Sumatra and the island of Borneo. Local primates use this plant as a source of water in the heat, so its other name is “monkey cup”. The leaves of the nepentes resemble a water lily, they are connected with long stems, like those of vines. The lure is plentiful, it can be more or less sticky. The unfortunate insects fall into this liquid, drown in it, and then dissolve. Most of the types of nepentes have very moderate sizes, but among them there are true giants. It is not only insectivorous plants. Photos of Nepenthes Rajah or Nepenthes Rafflesiana, with the appetite of eating birds, mice and even rats, make a lasting impression. Fortunately, for larger mammals and humans, they are not dangerous.
Genlisea and her claw
Carnivorous plants live in Africa. On the “Black Continent” there are over two dozen species of a rather beautiful yellow flower of the genliseus. It is also common in South America. With its asymmetrical shape, Genlisea resembles a claw of a crab, which is easy to hit, but almost impossible to break out. The fact is that the hairs growing on its inner surface are arranged in a spiral, and their direction prevents the reverse movement. At the same time, the hunt for all life is conducted not only above the earth's surface (this is the case of the photosynthetic outer leaves), but also in the ground, where microorganisms are sucked in with the soil waters through hollow tubes, which are also spiral-shaped. Food digestion takes place directly in its feed channels.
Color Hallucinations of California Darlington
Insectivorous plants amaze with a variety of methods of misleading their victims. So, Darlington Californian, which hunts near rivers, lakes and springs with cool water, has the shape of a bulb. In the center of this miracle of nature is a hole with two fanged leaves, rather sharp. Darlingtonia itself lives under water. Its difference is that it does not use leaves for fishing, insects get inside it through a “crab claw”, an asymmetrical petal. But the main catch lies in the color disorientation of the victim, achieved by the multitude of light-shadow transitions into which the insect is immersed, once inside. These insectivorous plants simply drive their victims crazy with the help of specks on the light-conducting sheath, and they can no longer understand where the top is and where the bottom is. In addition, the hairs give them the right direction.
A unique bubble trap is characteristic of a plant with the sonorous name Utricularia. It is small, the largest of the bubbles reach a centimeter or a little more. Accordingly, the prey is modest; the pemphigus is saturated with tadpoles and water fleas. But the diversity and range are impressive. There are more than two hundred species, and this predator can be found almost everywhere, except perhaps the tundra or Antarctica. Unusual and technique used in hunting. Inside the bubbles they produce a small vacuum, and the flower, like a small vacuum cleaner, sucks the insects passing by along with the water. It happens very quickly, the whole process from opening the trap hole to blocking it takes some microseconds.
Almost a complete analogue of the adhesive tape, which just a couple of decades ago in the summer hung from the ceiling almost every diner. True, Pinguicula, or Zhyryanka much more beautiful than those dark brown spirals from the past. Bright green or pink leaves on the outside are covered with two types of cells. The pedal glands, located closer to the stem, produce mucus, containing glue, attracting with smell, and at the same time reliably fixing insects. This is the very sticky tape. The second type of cells is the so-called sessile gland. They belong directly to the digestive system and produce protease, esterase and amylase, that is, enzymes that decompose living organisms into useful components for the plant.
Some species of Zhiryanka for the winter are hiding under a dense rosette in order to blossom again in spring and continue their merciless hunt, dismissing carnivorous sticky leaves.
This predator lives in Australia. It’s hard to imagine beautiful mucus, but that’s the way to determine its surface. In the external appearance of the library, there is some similarity with the dewberry, but it is a very special kind of carnivorous plant.
The cross section of the sheet is round; it is provided with a conical sharp end. The hairs growing on it emit a viscous substance of beautiful rainbow shades. Flowers are also not without aesthetic appeal and are equipped with five curved stamens. The mechanism of hunting does not differ special originality. The insect sticks, as a rule, it is small. Then he and the end.
Aldrewda - floating trap
Bubble aldrovanda lives in water. She is a record holder in two nominations. First, it is a carnivorous creature (it is difficult to call it a flower, rather, some kind of alga) grows very quickly, almost a centimeter daily. This does not mean that the Aldrawanda will soon flood all tropical reservoirs. As fast as it lengthens, so quickly and shortened. The root of this plant is not, at one end it grows, and at the other dies.
The second unique feature of aldrovandy biologists believe its traps. Они совсем маленькие, до трех миллиметров, но их довольно, чтобы ловить мелких водных позвоночных, и делать это стремительно. Состоит капкан из двух половин, покрытых волосками. Время срабатывания измеряется десятками миллисекунд, что является своеобразным рекордом быстродействия. Столь быстрое движение живого организма аналогов не имеет.
But not only in exotic countries insectivorous plants live. Species that are common in the Far Eastern regions, Siberia and the European part of the Russian Federation (and there are three of them) can survive in the cold due to their ability to form reliably insulated buds. Having survived in winter, they come to life in the spring and begin to hunt for avid to tasty aromas of bugs and flies. An example is the predator plant sundew, whose range covers almost the entire temperate climatic zone in both the northern and southern hemispheres. After wintering, not very long shoots living for one year are knocked out of the buds. The leaves that grow on them, measuring approximately one centimeter, are covered with thin reddish hairs that emit droplets resembling dew (hence the name). Should I explain that it is this liquid sundew uses as bait? The first warm months of the hunt are different bugs, accidentally caught in the zone of action of the predator. Further hunting is more focused. In July, the flowering season begins, and insect pollinators become victims. Five-petal flowers are pretty beautiful, and look above the surface of the swamp like light clouds.
Despite the slaughter effect on insects, this plant serves man and is very useful for treating bronchitis, asthma, atherosclerosis, and even helps alleviate suffering in epileptic episodes.
Predators in the house
Useful qualities that plants that feed on the juices of insects killed by them, have found recognition among people. Predator houseplants have long been the coveted inhabitants of residential and office space. Advantages, such as unpretentiousness, peculiar beauty and the ability to exterminate irrelevant living creatures, motivate the choice in their favor when making decisions, the pot with which flower to put on the windowsill. The eternal scourge of all offices, offices, and sometimes houses or apartments - care about who will water the flowers. In the case of predatory representatives of the flora, it is not particularly necessary to worry, they can take care of themselves for a long time.
Catches flies and mosquitoes
To get rid of flies and mosquitoes or at least reduce their number of people help, along with sticky paper or insecticides, predatory plants help people. Venus flytrap scientifically called Dionee (Dionaea muscipula). Her homeland is the savanna of North America. Its size allows you to place vases and pots, even in conditions of constrained space. The flower is beautiful, white, with a pleasant aroma. The two doors look friendly and hospitable, only small teeth on their edge can suggest an ominous prospect for a fly, which they want to sit at least on the edge of this shell. Dionea receives an inaudible signal from one of the three hairs placed in each trap — the flaps close. The main phase of the movement of the petals is swift and takes only one tenth of a second, which gives reason to consider the flycatcher rather a fly swatter. However, if the insect is small, it can still be saved by making its way through the still-existing cracks. In this case, the process of retention is terminated, as is the entire digestive cycle, and after about a day the whole fly-catching system comes to its original combat position. But this happens infrequently. Sometimes it happens that two or three insects fall into the trap at the same time.
So the choice is made. The owner of the room is a rather busy person, perhaps he often goes on business trips, and naughty flowers do not suit him. All its requirements correspond only to cacti or predatory plants. A photo seen in a magazine, or an example of the successful coexistence of similar colors with familiar people, confirms the choice in favor of a flycatcher or a sundew. Cherished pot bought and put on the window sill. What to do next?
Nothing at first. It is necessary to give the plant a habit in the new place and release a couple of new leaves. If there is perfect purity in the house, and there is no one to have a flower, it will have to be fed from time to time, and insects should be given alive, because it is their natural stirring that activates the whole nourishing process. For the same reason, it is not necessary to feed a predatory plant with human food like pieces of sausage or cheese. Such a diet will cause extremely unpleasant consequences, from the nasty stench to the complete death of the flower.
Insects are different, not everyone is willing to accept the role of a helpless victim. Other beetles are quite capable of literally gnawing out their right to life, having made a hole in a trap with their yellow wishes. You should not experiment with especially thick-shelled insects, as well as with too large. Not everything that is larger is tastier, and the size of the victims should allow them to freely fit in the trap, and it is better if they are half the size of it. Overfeeding predatory plants is not recommended, it should be aware of the harsh conditions in which they are accustomed to survive. Normal “portion” of flycatchers - up to three flies (and not a day, but for the whole summer). The appetite of sarration is less modest, but it does not exceed a dozen individuals.
In addition, traps have a limited "motor potential", for example, Venus "shells" are designed for no more than four methods of writing, and then die. If you download them all at the same time, soon the plant will simply have nothing to eat.
Special caution to fishing enthusiasts, who believe that their hobby guarantees the constant availability of suitable food. Bloodworm, rain or shaggy worms and other bait is good for fish, but the digestion of plants for all this abundance is not designed.
Any over-nutrition is harmful to predatory flowers as well as people, it leads to decay. In winter, they do not need to be fed at all. So, a complete diet.
Carnivorous plants many times became the prototypes of fantastic monsters living in distant worlds. People like everything mysterious, they find a special charm in the predatory beauty characteristic of these wild and domestic flowers. And besides such a useful quality as the ability to exterminate annoying insects, flycatchers or sundews have another important advantage. They are just beautiful.
Venus flytrap is a small, not more than 15 cm tall plant with miniature traps at the ends of the shoots. When an insect hits the sash of one of the halves of the predatory shell, electrical signals appear and in a matter of seconds both halves close, forming a reliable lock.
It is quite difficult to care for the plant: it needs a bright light throughout the year (including winter days), the correct soil from peat and sand and high humidity in the room.
Insectivorous predatory plant
PREDATIVE PLANTS (Venus flytrap, Aldrewda, sundew, Zyryanka, resolist.) Specially adapted for catching and digesting small animals, mainly insects, the size of which varies from microscopic daphnids to house flies and wasps. Other animals, such as frogs and even small mammals, can sometimes be found in the trap apparatus of large plant species. Different types of nepentes catch termites or ants. Typically, such predatory plants inhabit nitrogen-depleted sites, and insects are used as an additional source of nitrogen, thus obtaining additional nutrients by catching live prey.
All plants are predators fed by substances that they draw from the soil. These substances they need for normal life. But many of them grow on so poor soils (marshes, deserts) that they lack nutrients extracted from the ground. How, then, to obtain the necessary mineral salts for life? They came out of the situation and began to catch insects. Predator plants can do without animal food, but because of this they become sluggish, little viable.
In total, about 630 species of carnivorous predator plants are known. They range from leafy sundews with a sticky surface and the size of a thumb nail to huge nepenthes trap jars and the smallest trap bubbles of the pemphigus, and all of them are designed to trap and digest prey. Some predator plants use digestive enzymes to digest prey. Some of the plants, which are called semi-second-eating plants, need the help of other organisms to digest the prey caught by the plants.
One of these predator plants is the sundew. It is one of the rare representatives of similar plants growing in Europe, since most of them live in the tropics or subtropics. It can be found in central Russia. Rosyanka grows mainly in the swamps. They were found in wet steppes and swamps, mostly in acidic soils, with a deficiency of mineral substances.
Sundew is a low herbaceous plant, the leaves of which are planted with many long red cilia (about 30 on each leaf). At the tips of these cilia are droplets of sticky juice of a special composition. Exuding the smell of rot, uses these cilia in order to capture the insect. Some fly sits on a leaf to taste the sweetish droplets, but it is smeared with juice and can no longer fly away. The insect tries to free itself, but it almost never succeeds: the leaf rolls up around it and begins to emit a liquid that is similar in composition to the digestive juice. It dissolves the fly, and when the leaf opens, only miserable remains remain from the insect. Soon the wind will blow them away or it will wash away the rain. The role of the trap is carried out by each 3-4 times of the sundew only 3-4 times, after which it dries and falls off.
The predator plant is also the Venus flytrap. It can be found in the west of North America. Her sheet has the shape of an open shell. On the outside of the leaf are hairs. Insect enough to touch the hairs on both sides, in order to close the sheet. The insect, which touches only one side of the leaf, is out of danger, it can safely eat nectar. But when the future victim touches the hairs on both sides of the leaf, the mousetrap slams shut: the insect finds itself in a “cage”. And it slams because special cells begin to divide intensively - and the trap works. Inside the "flycatcher" stand out special secrets that process the insect to a liquid state. Charles Darwin was very interested in the properties of this predatory plant. So, he conducted an experiment and found out that the flycatcher hairs cannot distinguish a raindrop or a whiff of a wind from a flying insect, and its “shutters” often slam shut. But digestive enzymes are released only when there is a victim in the “cage”. Now the flycatcher was added to the Red Book, because of the massive collection of its number has decreased dramatically. Many used it as a remedy against flies. The cut leaves were planted in a flower pot and, if the predatory plant took root, not a single fly was left in the house.
In the pemphigus, inhabiting the swamps, part of the leaves has changed - they have become like small bubbles. Each such bubble has a very tricky structure: small prey (daphnias, mosquito larvae, etc.) as if through a funnel is sucked in there. And getting out of such a trap is quite difficult: a special valve prevents this. A small crustacean falls into such a “whirlpool” and becomes trapped. And then - according to the scenario.
Zhiryanka lives in the forest tundra. By attracting insects by coloring, smell, or sweet secretions, predator plants catch them in one way or another, and then release into the trap enzymes that digest the trapped victim. Products resulting from such extracellular digestion, mainly amino acids, are absorbed and absorbed.
Some predator plants do not secrete digestive juice. Extraction in them simply rot, and decomposition products are used as nutrients. An example is Darlingtonia Californian, the large white flowers of which lure insects with their appearance and smell.
In some predatory plants (sundew, zhiryanka, salvy list, etc.), the leaves are covered with numerous glands, secreting a sticky transparent liquid that attracts insects and sticks them to the leaf. When an insect hits a trap, the predatory plant increases secretions from the glands, while the glandular hairs bend toward the body of the insect (sundew) or the edges of the trapping leaf on which it is wrapped (zhiryanka). In other plants, the predators of the catcher are represented either by passively trapping insects urns (nepentes, sarracenia, darlingtonia, etc.) or actively operating traps (Dyon, Aldrew, Bladderworms, etc.).
The swamp liana Nepentes, which grows in the rainforests of South Asia, is a predatory plant with many small colored flowers that resemble a jug. Inside the flower are drops of fragrant nectar. Insects, hoping to feast on sweet juice, climb inside the flower. The inner walls of the flower are covered with a special wax coating, so that the insect slides down. It does not give him a sharp cilia, which do not prevent the penetration of the insect inside, as they are smoothed to the side surface of the flower. But when the inner cilia feel the vibration of the victim, they rise and block her path. The insect is trapped. Another secret of this predatory plant is that the sweet scent that attracts the insect turns out to be digestive juice. After a few hours, only uncooked skin remains from the insect, which will remain in the flower.
Another insectivorous predatory plant - the giant biblis - is a low shrub that has frequent sticky narrow leaves. They become the "murder weapon", highlighting the digestive juice. The glue on these leaves is so strong that, in addition to insects, frogs and even small birds are often the victims of this plant! The inhabitants of Australia (this is where these predatory plants can be found) used the leaves of biblis as glue or scotch.
In ancient times, many peoples laid down legends about the so-called plant cannibals. As if there were witnesses to how a giant plant devoured a man, leaving only a bare skeleton. Several times, and indeed found the remains of people around plants that were suspected of cannibalism. According to one of the versions, the plant strangled a person with the help of leaves and a sleeping smell and sucked out all the nutrients from it. It should be noted that scientists are skeptical about the existence of such plants of predators are skeptical. Source: http://www.florets.ru
World records plants Venus flytrap is able to slam leaves in one tenth of a second. This is one of the fastest movements in the plant world.
Plants predators: photo
All plants can be divided into two large groups according to the type of nutrient production - autotrophs and heterotrophs. The overwhelming majority of plants on Earth belong to autotrophs, which form organic substances from inorganic substances during photosynthesis. A small number of plant species belong to the group of heterotrophs, which receive nutrients either at the expense of the host organism (parasitic plants), or by eating directly insects (predator plants).
Predator plants are mostly perennial herbaceous plants. They catch insects, in rare cases, and other small animals, using them as an additional source of food (the nitrogenous diet plays the main role). Insectivorous plants are widespread throughout the Earth. These include approximately 50 species from six families (sundew, nepentes, bubble, cephalot and sarrrance). In Russia, 18 species of four genera grow, which belong to two families: bladderwort (Zyryanka, bladderwort) and sundew (Aldrewda, sundew).
The habitat of insectivorous plants is freshwater or marshy meadows and marshes, where there is a lack of nitrogenous compounds necessary for plant growth. To compensate for the lack of nitrogen, as well as potassium, phosphorus and other essential substances, predatory plants resort to catching insects using trapping devices - modified leaves. Such leaves of plants are equipped with special glands, producing enzymes like pepsin and a number of organic acids (benzoic, formic, etc.). Due to the effect of the above enzymes, the proteins of the animal’s body are broken down into amino acids and other simple compounds that the plant is able to absorb.
The root system of predators living on land is poorly developed, and in aquatic plants it is absent altogether, but even those can live thanks to nutrients from water and soil. According to scientific research, predator plants that live solely by feeding on substances derived from the root, as compared with plants that feed on animals and in addition, are significantly lagging behind in growth and development. Растение при переходе к питанию животными начинает быстрее развиваться, также ускоряется наступление периода цветения и образования плодов.
У ряда растений-хищников ловчими органами являются пассивно улавливающие насекомых урны, как у саррацении, дарлингтонии, непентеса, т.д. У других растений-хищников имеются активно действующие ловушки, например, у пузырчатки, дионеи, альдрованды, т.д. Но большинство растений-хищников имеют типичное строение видоизмененных листьев, приспособленных к ловле насекомых. On the surface of the metamorphosed leaves there are many capitated glands, which produce a sticky, colorless liquid that attracts insects and glues them to the leaves. If the insect victim is trapped in a plant, the release of sticky substances by glands is activated, which makes it more difficult for the insect to move. Next, the glandular hairs of a predator plant, like a sundew, or the edges of the leaf, like those of Zhiryanka, lean towards the insect's body, and the release of enzymes begins to “digest” the insect. So eat almost all the plants of predators.
Plants - predators
Nature does not tire us to surprise with its riddles and surprises. It would seem that the stalk with leaves, and also carnivorous! It turns out that there is a rather significant category of plants living by the death of others. These are the so-called “plutonians” - after the mysterious lord of death and rebirth - Pluto. More common names are “carnivorous plants” and “predator plants”.
These plants are more than proof of the mysteriousness of evolution. For example, in order to survive in shady wet places, the so-called epiphytes move to live on a higher and more powerful neighbor, although without prejudice to it, predatory plants, scientists believe, have evolved due to extreme nitrogen deficiency in the soil.
In total, about 500 species of predator plants are known. The most famous "predators" - dews, nepentes and sarracenium - the main part of the prey is insects (hence the other name of these plants is insectivorous). Others — aquatic pemphigus and aldrovands — most often catch planktonic crustaceans. There are also such "predatory" plants that feed on fry, tadpoles or even toads and lizards. There are three groups of such insectivorous plants - plants with trapped leaves, in which halves of leaves with teeth along the edge slam shut, plants with sticky leaves, in which the hairs on the leaves secrete a sticky liquid that attracts insects, and plants in which the leaves have the shape jug with a lid filled with water.
Why are plants "predation"?
The fact is that all predatory plants grow on poor soils, such as peat or sand. In such conditions, there is less competition among plants (few people are able to survive here), and the ability to catch live prey, break down and absorb animal protein makes up for the lack of mineral nutrition. Predatory plants are especially numerous in wet soils, marshes and swamps, where they compensate for the lack of nitrogen due to captured animals. As a rule, they are brightly colored, and this attracts insects accustomed to associate bright color with the presence of nectar.
What is characteristic of predator plants?
They possess various devices for capturing small animals, mainly insects and arachnids, digest their victims with “digestive juice” secreted by special glands, and absorb the nutrient slurry thus obtained, thus complementing the nitrogen they need from the soil with animal tissues. Leaves are usually turned into insect trapping organs. They are covered with glue, have sticky hairs, can be bent inward, closing, like a palm, collected in a fist. The leaf can be turned into a jar with a lid, from which the insect that got there cannot get out.
There is reason to believe that some cultivated plants are not averse to feasting on “meat”. Thus, rainwater accumulates in the bases of the pineapple leaves, and small aquatic organisms reproduce there - infusoria, rotifers, worms, insect larvae. There are suspicions that pineapple is able to digest and assimilate them.
The genus Drosera (sundew) includes about 130 species of plants. They live in tropical swamps, and in the long-drying soils of the Australian subtropics, and even beyond the Arctic Circle in the tundra. In central Russia you can find a round-leaf sunflower. Usually sundews catch small insects, but some species are able to catch larger prey.
The leaves of sundew are covered with red or bright orange hairs, each of which is topped with a shiny droplet of liquid. In tropical dews, the leaves resemble a necklace of many hundreds of dew-beads sparkling in the sun. But this is a deadly necklace: attracted by the glitter of droplets, the reddish color of the leaf and its smell, the insect gets stuck in the sticky surface.
Desperate attempts of the victim to free themselves lead to the fact that more and more adjacent hairs are leaning toward her, and in the end she is covered with sticky mucus. The insect perishes. Then the sundew allocates an enzyme that dissolves prey. Only wings, chitinous cover and other hard parts remain intact. If not one insect sits on a leaf, but two at once, then the hairs, as it were, share their duties and cope with both.
It acts almost the same as a sundew, luring insects with sticky secretions of its long leaves, which taper towards the end, collected in a rosette. Sometimes the edges of the leaves are bent inward, and the prey in such a tray is locked. Then other leaf cells secrete digestive enzymes. After the absorption of the “dish” the leaf unfolds and is again ready to act.
The genus Dionaea includes only one species of Dioneae muscipulata, better known as the Venus flytrap. This is the only plant in which insect fishing by the rapid movement of a trap can be observed even with the naked eye. In nature, the flycatcher is found in the marshes of North and South Carolina.
In an adult plant, the maximum size of a trap is 3 cm. Depending on the season, the type of trap varies considerably. In the summer, when there is a lot of prey, the trap is brightly colored (usually dark red) and reaches its maximum size. In winter, when there is little prey, traps are reduced in size. Along the edges of the sheet there are thick spines similar to the teeth, each leaf (“jaw”) is equipped with 15-20 teeth, and in the middle of the sheet there are three guard hairs. An insect or other creature attracted by a bright leaf cannot but touch these hairs. The trap collapses only after double irritation of hairs in the range from 2 to 20 seconds. This prevents traps from triggering during rain.
Open the trap is no longer possible. If the sheet misses or something inedible falls into it, it will reopen in half an hour. Otherwise, it will remain closed until it digests the victim, which takes up to several weeks. As a rule, the leaves, before they die out and change to new ones, thus work only two or three times.
The genus includes about 80 species of plants from tropical rain forests. Most of them are creepers reaching several meters, but there are also low bushes. The nepenthes traps are adapted to catch very large prey. The largest nepentes can catch small rodents, toads and even birds. However, the usual prey for them - insects.
The nepentes catch prey completely differently than all other predatory plants. In their tubular leaves, shaped like jugs, rainwater accumulates. In some, the tip of the leaf is rolled up like a funnel, along which water flows inwards, in others it is folded over the hole and covers it, limiting the amount of incoming moisture to prevent overflow during heavy rains. On the outer side of the pitcher, two jagged wings pass from the top downwards, which serve both to support the pitcher and to direct crawling insects. Along the inner edge of the pitcher are cells that produce sweet nectar. Below them is a set of tough hairs turned downwards, a bristly palisade that does not allow the victim to get out of the jug. The wax secreted by the cells of the smooth leaf surface of most nepenthes makes this surface so slippery that no claws, hooks or suckers can help the victim. Once in such a pitcher-trap, the insect is doomed, it sinks deeper and deeper into the water - and sinks. At the bottom of the jug insect decomposes, and its soft parts are absorbed by the plant.
Nepentes (water pitchers) are sometimes called “hunting cups” because the liquid they contain can be drunk: clean water on top of the pitcher. Of course, somewhere down there are undigested solid remnants of the "dinners" of the plant. But with some caution, they cannot be reached, and almost every jar contains a sip or two, or even a lot more water.
The genus includes 9 species from the sarraseniy family. All members of the family - marsh plants. The flowers are very bright. And even non-flowering sarracenia draw attention to themselves: emerald green leaves with a thick net of crimson veins, with sweet juice that ends in a trap resemble fabulous flowers. Attracted by a bright trap, insects sit on the trap and die.
Darlingtonia (Darlingtonia) is a marsh plant of North America, one of the strangest in the world: it amazes with its jugs in the shape of a hood of a cobra preparing for an attack (hence the other name - Cobra Plant). Insects come across the smell, and the hairs on the walls of the leaves provide only a movement down.
In Australia, you can find Biblis the Giant (Byblis gigantea), completely covered with leaves with sticky hairs and glands with a very sticky substance. It is about him that is still rumored as a man-eating plant. According to legends, human remains were found around these plants more than once. The local natives used its leaves as a super glue.
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Attraction of insects by the plant nepentes on the island of Madagascar. The structure of the trap apparatus and the method of hunting sarration. Venus flytrap growing in the marshes of North and South Carolina in the United States. Sundew on the peat bogs of Europe. Species of predator plants.
presentation [2,0 M], added on 04/08/2014
Types and classification of insectivorous plants. Habitat predator plants. Ways of catching insects: sticking, grabbing, waiting. The reasons for the unusual way of plant nutrition are adaptation to habitat under conditions of nutrient deficiency.
abstract [21,7 K], added on 07.02.2010
Descriptions of the biological features of unique and fantastic plants. Characteristics of the growth and development of the desert tree of dwarf velvichia, rafflesia and amorphofallus. Investigation of hunting methods of predator plants: nepentes and Venus flytrap.
presentation [4,1 M], added on 06.03.2012
Plants are predators in nature, their ability to catch live prey. Characteristics and distribution of Venus flytrap. Leaf slamming mechanism. Change the type of trap depending on the time of year. Recommended growing conditions.
abstract [1003,0 K], added on 12.03.2010
Insectivorous plants, grasses or shrubs that can catch various insects and other small animals. Plants with traps, traps, with traps, sticky, mechanical traps. Review of predatory plants of the island of Borneo on the example of the Nepentes.
abstract [302.9 K], added on 02/20/2015
The effect of overheating of plants on their functional features, types of hazards. The relationship between plant habitat conditions and heat resistance. Adaptations and adaptation of plants to high temperatures. Ecological groups of plants for heat resistance.
abstract [9,8 K], added 04/23/2011
Phytoimmunity and its types. Types of damage to plants by insects and mites. The relationship between resistance to pests and the defeat of plants pathogens. The main factors of group and complex plant resistance to pathogenic agents.
term paper [28,2 K], added 12/30/2002
The species composition of insect pollinators of plants of the calciphilic steppe, consortia connections between pollinating insects and plants. Rare species of insects that are pollinators of calciphilic species and recommendations for their protection. Family pollinated plants.
presentation [2,6 M], added 05/17/2010
The study of the method of separation of predators according to the taxonomic principle, the relationship of the predator and the prey, the size of the population. Descriptions of the features of hunting, habitat and reproduction of birds of prey. Analysis of species and habitats of plants that feed on insects.
presentation [9,8 M], added 10/16/2011
The biological meaning of early spring flowering. Sunlight as a necessary condition for the normal development of plants. The main types of early flowering plants. The group of early spring ephemeroids, their main properties. Distribution of seeds with insects.
abstract [42,9 K], added on 03/18/2011
Predatory plants have become the true embodiment of the mystery and lack of knowledge of the wild nature. They conquer us with their ingenuity, excellent adaptability to a hostile environment, and simply their beauty. If you adhere to the truth, then you should, of course, call them insectivorous, and not predatory. But the myth of the killer plants still continues to exist. If in ancient times some of the plants began to “eat”, or rather “digest” insects, then only to survive in a hostile environment, where the soil is so poor or so acidic that the roots could not get the nutrients in the usual way. Finding no other way to satisfy their need for mineral salts and trace elements, these plants evolved so much that they could get them from organic matter. That is why predatory plants began to catch living creatures that provide them with the necessary food. In the measure there are up to five hundred species of plants of predators. And what is most surprising, many insectivorous plants are so small, they look so graceful and tender that they do not seem to be treacherous predators at all, enticing and then absorbing prey.
What makes these plants go hunting? The fact is that “predators” grow, usually in swamps, in muddy and damp places - where most of the plants simply cannot survive due to lack of nutrients. And predator plants feel great in such Spartan conditions, supplementing the diet with animal food. Of course, plants do not hunt at all like animals, and their prey is not the largest - insects. All plants hunters - flowering. But not flowers (although sometimes very beautiful) attract insects. The main lure for the victim - the leaves that emit the sweet smell of a special liquid secreted by plants. This is how the sundew round-leafed catches its victims, well-known to the inhabitants of the northern latitudes of Russia.
Each leaf contains up to two hundred hairs. A droplet of liquid glitters on the tip of each hair. It looks like a drop of dew. Hence the name of the plant - sundew round-leaved. This is the real plant-predator. Brilliant sticky droplets that attract insects, contain a whole range of substances involved in the digestion of victims. The composition also includes the substance konyin, which immobilizes the caught insects. In response to the movements of the stuck insect, the adjacent hairs stretch toward the victim, and the leaf of the sundew itself begins to close gradually. Digestion of a medium-sized victim occurs within 2-3 days. On the sheet that opened after a while, almost nothing remains of the victim, except an empty skin. In contrast to Venus, the sundew flycatchers are extremely widespread - they are found on all continents with the exception of Antarctica. The generic name of the plant - Drosera - hints at the droplets of sticky mucous fluid that appear on the upper side and along the edges of its leaves (translated from Greek Drosos - “dew”). For the droplets of liquid glittering in the sun, the Americans call for a sundew "weed of precious stones." Sundews live a long time - the age of a single plant can go back tens of years. The smallest pygmy droser growling in Australia is considered to be the smallest; the length of its leaves does not reach 1 cm. The hunting record of rosjonok 51 mosquito caught by one plant in 3 hours! It is not by chance that in Portugal local residents use dews instead of sticky paper from flies, hanging the potted plants along the walls of houses. Even strong horseflies stick to the leaves of their favorite sundew!
Flycatchers grow in the United States. They are found on the eastern coastal sandy wastelands and peatlands of the states of North and South Carolina. The genus includes the only species. Among other insectivorous plants, the Venus flytrap reacts most quickly to its prey. Large white flowers are collected in the final few-flowered inflorescences at the top of the peduncle. The fruit is an irregularly cracked box filled with two dozen shiny black seeds and surrounded by faded petals. Well-developed specimens of Venus flytrap can tolerate without harm for themselves both drought and temporary flooding. The leaves of this plant, slightly raised above the ground, are gathered by a rosette around a long peduncle. The leaf stalk is flat and wide, and the leaf plate has turned into two rounded sashes lying at an angle to each other. Its leaves, equipped with long teeth, look like open trays. Количество зубцов по краю листа-ловушки может превышать 30. Каждый лист состоит из двух половинок, напоминающих створки раковины. Насекомых привлекает яркая окраска внутренней поверхности листа и скапливающаяся на ней сладковатая жидкость. На каждой половинке листа расположены три чувствительных волоска. Как только муха или другая жертва касается двух из них, в тканях листа возникают слабые электрические сигналы, и за доли секунды обе его половинки смыкаются.When closing the teeth of the sheet intersect.
The trap flycatcher works in a fraction of seconds. Attempts by the insect to break free of this “live trap” lead to even more tight closure of the valves. Mechanical irritation of the hairs can lead to leaf slamming, but the release of digestive substances does not begin in this case. After a successful hunt, digestion of the victim, depending on its size, lasts 1-3 weeks. Sometimes a larger delicacy such as small frogs or slugs fall into such a trap. When this happens, the Venus flytrap begins its "feast." Each sheet is able to slam and finish only 2-3 times, after which it dies. For a long time, it was a mystery - how does a flycatcher produce such lightning movement without muscles and nerves? This is one of the fastest movements in the plant kingdom. It turned out that Venus flytrap leaves accumulate elastic energy. They work like convex membranes, which with a sharp click switch from one position to another, you just have to gently press them with your finger. When the leaves open, they are constantly on the verge of an unstable position. The insect touches the hairs of the plant, and in response it slightly changes the moisture of the leaf (gives it juice). Moisture slightly changes the curvature of the surface, serving as a descent, and then the sheet itself jumps into a new stable state - closing the trap. Charles Darwin considered the flycatcher "the most amazing plant in the world."
Unusual plants with thick fleshy basal leaves are found in the floodplains of rivers, on sphagnum bogs, on damp meadows and along the shores of shallow lakes. If you touch them with your finger, you feel that they are sticky. This is Zhiryanki. With the help of their sticky leaves, fat plants catch insects. The scientific name of the plant is a penguic. In Latin Pingvis - "fat". The surface of the leaves of Zhiryanka oily shines thanks to the sugary mucus, which is secreted by special glands in the leaf tissues. This mucous coating is so sticky that the insect on the leaf is literally glued to its surface. (After an insect comes into contact with a leaf, an additional portion of sticky mucus is secreted in this place). Then the leaf begins to gradually curl, digestive juices take over and the seized victim begins to digest. Soon, only one empty shell remains from the caught insect. Zhiryanki able to digest even the pollen that fell on its leaves. There are about 80 species of Zhyryanka in the world. A smaller part of the species grows in Eurasia, North America and in the south of Greenland. Most are in Asia, Central and South America. In Europe, there are 12 species of Zhyryanka, in North America - 10 species. On the territory of Russia grow 6 types of zhyryanok. There are Zhiryanka and in the very south of South America. Even in the tundra there are zhiryanki. Growing in the north of Eurasia zhiryanka ordinary is a plant-relic of the Ice Age. This means that this species existed when most of Europe was covered with a thick layer of glaciers.
Rosolist (Dr osophyllum lusitanicum L.) is one of the most remarkable carnivorous plants found in Portugal and Morocco. The plant differs from other insectivorous (Drosera, Pinguicula) both in its appearance and especially in its biological features. It grows not in damp swampy places, like our sundew, but in dry mountains, on sandy, often even stony soil. Its stalk very often reaches a height of 1/4 arshin and at the apex on several, but a few short ramifications, single flowers that are up to 3 cm in diameter. The leaves are located in large numbers at the base of the stem, but are located higher up the entire stem. They are linearly elongated, tapering gradually towards their upper end. On the upper surface of the leaves there is a small groove. Rosolis leaves and stems are rather densely covered with small glands on clearly distinguishable stalks. These glands with small stalks have the form of small hatchees and are always covered with their discharge - small shiny droplets of liquid, resembling a drop of dew, from which the plant itself was called Rosist. In color, the Rosolista reddish glands strongly resemble those of sundews, and in their form they approach the glandular glands (Pinguicula), one that is often found in our peat bogs of an insectivorous plant. In addition to these stalked glands, clearly distinguishable to the naked eye, there are even smaller, sessile glands, almost colorless and different from stalked ones, in that they emit droplets of colorless sticky and acidic liquid only under the influence of nitrogenous bodies on them. The fluid of these sessile glands is very sticky, strongly adheres to objects touching the pieces of iron, but easily lags behind them. When an insect sits on a leaf of a salist, then all its parts are quickly glued together with secretions of sedentary glands, but the animal can, however, at first, though slowly, but still move, as the sticky liquid of glands easily separates from the latter. After a short period of time, the insect is completely covered with drops of secretions from other glands, loses its ability to move, dies and falls on the underlying columnar glands, which, using their secretions, extract everything soluble from the corpse and suck. Thus, the salvy leaf feeds on nitrogenous substances of animal origin. Rosolist glands, which have lost their sticky liquid droplets, again secrete it. These discharges are so abundant that the whole plant is sometimes completely covered by insects just as they have just sat down and have died off and have already decayed. In the vicinity of Oporto, where the Rosolist is found quite often, the peasants gather this plant and hang it in living quarters for catching and exterminating flies.
A genus of insectivorous aquatic plants of the sundew family. To the genus belongs 1 species A. vesiculosa with floating filiform stems, without roots. Leaves 6--9 in verticils, with long bristles on top of broad stem. When irritating delicate hairs that are on the surface of the sheet, it folds along, with the edges being found one upon the other. So Aldrewda catches and then digests small water larvae and crustaceans. Aldrewda occurs sporadically in Western Europe, Africa, East and Southeast Asia, and Australia. In the USSR - in the European part, in the Caucasus, the Far East and Central Asia, most often in the lakes of old women.
In the coastal zone of small bodies of water with calm fresh water, you can find a curious plant - pemphigus. She swims in the upper layer of water, not attaching to the bottom. If you look at the thin, dissected leaves of the plant, you will notice numerous rounded chech-like thickenings smaller than half a centimeter in size. This is the trapping organs of the pemphigus. Near the entrance to each such "bubble" are thin projections, sensitive hairs. When a small water crayfish touches these hairs, the bending of the walls of the bubble changes dramatically. As a result, production along with a small volume of water is literally sucked inwards. The excess water is gradually “pumped out”, and digestive substances begin to flow into the trap with the caught victim. Soon only prey remains from prey. Each trapping vial of a plant can work several times, then gradually dies off. The genus of bladderwort is quite extensive - it has up to 200 species. In Europe and in Russia there are 6 of them. Many types of pemphigus - plants are not aquatic, they are found in the tropics on wet soil, among moss or even on tree trunks. In the northern hemisphere the most common and larger is pemphigus vulgaris. Its branches form something like a floating platform, over which, at the height of summer, thin flower stalks rise. From the reservoir into the reservoir of the plant with the help of migratory waterfowl, to the paws of which their stalks easily stick. In the northern latitudes, with the onset of autumn, wintering buds form in the pemphigus, in spring they will give rise to a new generation of plants. You can watch bubble tissue in an aquarium or in a voluminous glass jar. Capture mining can be seen without special magnifying devices. For content suitable defended soft fresh water. For feeding live prey you can use small crustaceans - Cyclops and Daphnia.
Usually aquarists use such live prey as food for fry. Bubble can hunt even little fry!
Cephalotus saccular (Cephalotus follicularis) Cephalotus is endemic to the South-West Australian floristic province. It is found in a limited area, which stretches along the coast in the extreme southeast of the province. Cephalotus grows in relatively dry places on the outskirts of peat bogs. This is a small herb with an underground rhizome. A rosette of closely located basal leaves is formed annually. The leaves are of two types - the upper (inner) flat, solid, thick, with glands on the petiole and on the lower side of the plate, and the lower (outer) turned into difficultly arranged lovable jugs located more or less obliquely on the soil surface. Flat leaves develop during the Australian autumn (March - April) and reach full development in spring (August - September), while jug leaves develop in winter and spring and are fully formed and actively function in summer (November - January), when insects are most abundant. In November-December, a very long leafless peduncle rises from the middle of the rosette, bearing an inflorescence at the top, consisting of small lateral dihaziyev, each of which consists of 3--8 flowers. Flowering occurs in January and early February. The flowers are small, whitish, bisexual, blind. Calyx srosnolistnaya, 6-lobed. Stamens 12, in two alternating circles attached to the top of the calyx tube at the outer edge of the thick disc. From the outside of the binder, a hemispherical cell mass is formed, which served as the French botanist J. de Labillardiere (1806), who first described this plant, as an occasion to call it cephalotus (Greek kephalotos - capitate). Apokard gynecateum, of 6 carpels located in one circle, the carpels are elongated into a slightly bent column and on the ventral side of the upper part are covered with very small stigma papillae. In each carpel usually 1 (rarely 2) basal ovules. The fruit is a multi-leaf ripening in February or March. Fruits are covered with hairs bent down, the posts remain with the fruits, elongate and hooked outwards. The hairs and the hooked column contribute to zoochorny distribution. Seeds with a very small embryo, surrounded by abundant fleshy endosperm.
In the structure and vital activity of cephalotus, the most interesting are the jug leaves, morphologies, and the biology of which is rather extensive. Jug leaves consist of an egg-shaped jug with a length of 0.5 to 3 cm and oriented almost perpendicularly to its axis of the hairy stem. In a young state, the pitcher is closed with a lid, which opens afterwards. A jar with a lid is the result of invagination of a leaf plate. As you know, leaves of the ascidian type (from the Greek askidion - sac) are sometimes found as anomalies in plants with normal flat leaves, which is caused by uneven tissue growth. In cephalotus, abnormal leaves are quite common, representing different stages of the transformation of an ordinary flat sheet into a jug sheet, described by the English botanist A. Dixon (1882). To some extent, they correspond to the stages of ontogenetic development of the jug, first carefully studied by the German botanist A.V. Eichler (1881). The structure of the jug leaf of cephalotus is so wonderful that you need to tell about it in more detail. The epidermis of the outer surface of the jar, consisting of thick-walled cells, is provided with stomata and submerged glands. In addition, along the entire length of the jug stretch three several flattened comb. All three combs are covered with long hairs. But the most interesting is the inner surface of the jar, familiarity with which we begin with its oblique-up directional hole, or pharynx. The edge of the hole is framed by a rather thick rim, or pinnacle (from the Greek. Peri - around, and the stoma - mouth), which is interrupted only at the place of the lid's discharge. The rim is grooved, as it were, with alternating ridges and grooves, each ridge forming a claw-shaped tooth, directed downwards, inside the urn. The teeth are dark red in color and contrast well with the light green color of deep grooves. If we now make a longitudinal section of the pitcher, then in its upper part we will see a pale green collar from 2 to 8 mm wide, which is a continuation of the peristom and hangs with its lower sharp edge in the form of a cornice. The collar consists mainly of the spongy parenchyma, which forms the thickest part of the jug's wall. It is covered with very peculiar epidermal cells overlapping each other, whose surface is characterized by a thin radial streak. Each of these cells is elongated in a downward pointed spike. Together with the clawed teeth of the peristom, these processes form a “retaining ring” that prevents the insect from escaping outside, and a “sliding zone” that contributes to its falling inside the jug. The inner part of the jug located under the collar consists of parenchymal cells with wavy walls. These cells often contain a dark red pigment. With the exception of a narrow strip lying directly under the collar eaves, in the upper half of this part of the jug's cavity there are numerous small submerged glands, which, in a downward direction (that is, toward that part of the jug that is closer to the ground), gradually become larger. These glands secrete a proteolytic exoenzyme protease, that is, they have a purely digestive function. On both sides of the lower half of this zone of the jug cavity there is one obliquely located dark red bulge or roller containing numerous large submerged digestive glands. The upper part of the roller is especially rich in glands. These glands play a major role in the digestion of insects caught in the trap. The lower part of the roller, covered with the epidermis with wavy cell walls, is provided with an exceptionally large number of stomata. These stomata, however, are of an unusual type. Their locking cells have lost the ability to turgor movements, and the stoma opening is wide open all the time. In essence, this is no longer a real stomata. The famous German botanist K. Goebel (1891), who first described these peculiar structures, called them “water pores”, i.e. hydatods. It is very likely that the bottom of the jug is filled with liquid through these hydatods, although not all researchers agree with this. The lowest part of the inner surface of the jar is completely devoid of glands.
No less interesting is the structure of the lid of the jug, which is an important part of the trapping apparatus. Once or twice forked radial areas of green fabric pass along the upper side of the lid. The epidermis of these areas consists of cells with more or less wavy edges and is provided with hairs. This fabric is provided with both attractive (insect) attractive submerged glands and stomata. On the inside of the lid, it is dark red. The gaps between the green areas are devoid of chlorophyll and stomata, but with glands. In contrast to the green areas of the epidermis cells are straight. Insects, these almost translucent areas appear open. In their attempts to get out of the trap, they, flying into these areas, push off from them and sink into the pitcher's cavity. The edges of the caps are wavy. Tiled overlaying each other, the epidermal cells of the inner side of the cap are each extended in the process, which is directed downwards, to the base of the cap. These cells, like the epidermal cells of the collar, with thin shading converging towards the end of the process. Between the epidermal cells are attractive glands similar to the glands of the outer side of the cap. Cephalotus jug leaves provide an extremely ingenious insect trap. Three flat ridges running along the pitcher are likely to make it easier for crawling insects to access the mouth of the pitcher. The variegated color of the pitcher and the abundance of glands imitate the flower and thus serve as bait for flying insects. Being seduced by the secretions of these glands, the insect moves towards the jar of the jug and approaches its cavity, where, as A.J. Hamilton (1904), who studied the biology of cephalotus in nature, the insect licks the surface of the collar for a long time before going further down. Попав на внутренние сторону очень гладкого и скользкого зева урны, оно легко соскальзывает вниз и почти неизбежно становится жертвой цефалотуса. Основными жертвами цефалотуса являются муравьи. Насекомые перевариваются как ферментами, выделяемыми поверхностью кувшинчика, так вероятно, и бактериями. В урне находят хитиновые остатки насекомых, что говорит о том, что желёзки цефалотуса не выделяют хитиназы.
Heliamphora are found on the territory of Venezuela, Brazil and Guiana, where they grow on hard-to-reach sandy plateaus, at altitudes of 1000-3000 m above sea level. Heliamfors are evolutionary relatives of sarracenium, however, they are less common in room culture. The Latin name of the plant can be translated as "swamp jug" (Greek helos - "swamp"). It is curious that this is one of the local names of the plant. Leaves of a heliamphor really resemble shaped water vessels with wide-open necks. The edges of the sheet are brought together and as if connected by a well-marked seam. The tip of the leaf is turned into a kind of "cap". Its dimensions are small, it closes the entrance to the trap rather symbolically. The cap is brightly colored. Often she plays the role of a visual bait for future victims. Rainwater accumulates inside the jug. Its inner walls are covered with smooth, downward processes. The insects sitting on them slide down, drown in the jug liquid and gradually decompose in it. The genus is little studied, it includes about eight species, but their number in the future will certainly increase as a result of additional research.
One of the most amazing inventions of plants are leaves. Changing, they can become both gentle petals, and sharp dry prickles. Some leaves of climbing plants turn into long twisting antennae. The flexible stem clings to all kinds of supports. With the help of the antennae, the stems of peas, pumpkin, cucumber and grapes climb upward. The top of the design art can be considered the leaves of the nepenthes trap. These amazing plants are found in the warm and humid jungles in Ceylon, Madagascar, Southeast Asia, the Philippines, New Zealand and northern Australia. The ends of the leaves in nepentesov turned into a kind of pitchers. They are rather large, each having up to one liter of sourish moisture, so the nepentes try to fasten such a jug with the help of antennae on strong stems of neighboring plants. The neck of the jug is surrounded by large spikes, protecting its contents from uninvited guests. The entrance to the jar is closed with a lid. Later, a gap arises between it and the body of the jug, which gradually increases. The lid protects the pitcher from overflowing with rainwater and at the same time serves as a “landing site”, for the main prey of nepentes, flying insects. On the outer side of the jug, two toothed outgrowths run from top to bottom, which serve both to support the jug and to direct crawling insects. Attracted by the smell of nectar, they eventually end up inside the jug and usually fall into the liquid inside. The inner walls of the trap are so smooth that even insects that crawl along vertical glasses cannot climb it. Occasionally, hummingbirds, small rodents and amphibians become prey to large nepenthes. The liquid pitcher contains digestive acids, in which the prey is gradually digested in a few hours. Among the predator plants, the nepentes possess the largest traps. In nepentes raja the length of the jugs reaches 40 cm! Of them, you can even drink like from glasses. The popular name for nepenthes traps is monkey goblets. Some monkeys really quench their thirst with the help of nepentes. A new species of giant predatory plants was discovered in the highlands of the central Philippines. Externally, the new plant resembles a water lily, and its “jug”, with which the plant swallows its victims, is the largest among all carnivorous plants. The plant feeds on small rodents, insects and birds that cater to the "mouth" of the new plant. As the researchers later testified, a giant pitcher grows only on the slopes of Mount Victoria, and the plant has not yet been found anywhere else. The new species was named Nepenthes attenboroughii in honor of the world famous British naturalist and TV presenter David Attenborough. Giant plant predator scientists have found at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level. A sample of the plant was delivered to Palavansky University, where he was given the name Nepenthes attenboroughii.
Sarracenia (Sarracenia), a genus of plants of the family Sarratseniyevyh. Insectivorous perennial grasses with a rhizome up to 25--30 cm long, which grows up to 20--30 years, annually forming rosettes of jugged leaves (ascidians) up to 75--100 cm long, 5--8 cm in diameter. Leaves usually with reddish veins (in the sun often redden completely), in yellow sarration (S. flava) - yellowish-green with red veins. Flowers solitary, large (diameter 4--10 cm), 5-membered, petals reddish-purple or yellow (Sarrationen yellow). The pistil on the top of the umbrella-like widened, covers the stamens. 10 species in North America (mainly in the Atlantic states of the USA). The most widespread is Sarracena purpurea (S. purpurea). C. grow mainly in swampy forests and sphagnum swamps. Its other name is “trap pit”. Each leaf of the sarration, or rather the leaf stalk, resembles a bag or jug, narrowed above and below and swollen in the middle. The hole leading to the inside of the “jug-bag” contains the actual lamina with blood-red veins. It resembles a bright umbrella and is perceived more like a flower than a leaf. Actually, this bright appendage performs the function of a flower, attracting unlucky midges and spiders to a trapping “jar-bag”. In addition, insects are drawn inside and have a pleasant scent. Looking into the middle of the “bag”, the victim goes down deeper and deeper and eventually falls into the water, which is filled with sarrasenia even with dry weather. There is no move back from the trap pit: its walls are covered with a set of smooth scales, each of which ends with a sharp spike facing down.
In the long “jar-bags” of sarration, there can accumulate a huge amount of any small arthropod living creatures, which are gradually digested with the help of a secret produced by the tissues of the walls of the “bag”.
This is a whole group of carnivorous plants that use an unusual form of trap. This name the flower received for the bubbles that are on the stem and are used to catch insects. Each bubble is equipped with a valve, which, sucking an insect, closes and no longer releases it. Impressive reaction rate of a plant that catches an insect literally in a split second.
The socket from the leaves of Zhiryanka is covered with numerous glands: some of them secrete sugar, and others digestive enzymes dissolving a doomed insect. Moreover, everything happens right on the surface of the sheet, which the zhirianka twists in rare cases - when the victim is too large. By the way, the flowers of this plant are very beautiful!
Predatory plants: list of species and their habitats
The nature of our planet is fraught with a lot of unexplored and unusual. In the vegetable kingdom you can find amazing specimens that not only conquer the eyes, but also surprise with their way of life. One of the secrets of the nature of the Earth are predatory plants.
We all know from childhood that flowers and grass are food for animals, but it turns out that it happens and vice versa. Insectivorous, also called carnivorous, are a direct confirmation of this. Predatory plants are those living organisms that receive some or most of the nutrients (but not energy) from the capture and consumption of animals or protozoa, usually arthropods. Carnivorous representatives of the flora are adapted for growth in areas with a thin layer of fertile soil or a small amount of nitrogen, such as acid marshes and outcrops. Charles Darwin wrote his work Insectivorous Plants, the first known treatise on carnivorous species of flora, in 1875. This book was a turning point in the research of these unusual representatives of the plant world.
How and what do plants predators eat?
Predatory plants have leaves adapted to trap small animals, most often insects. That is why they are also called insectivorous. Catching such a flower in the "trap" of an invertebrate arthropod animal dissolves in its digestive juice. As a result, the living organism of a predator plant receives the nutrients necessary for the full existence. It is worth noting that the enzymes dissolve the soft tissue of the insect. They cannot “digest” the skeletons or exoskeletons, therefore numerous remains of their victims are accumulated inside some flowers.
Some flowers can absorb the sap of dead animals using leaf surfaces. However, only true carnivorous representatives of the flora have the ability to obtain nutrients from animals, first pulling them to themselves, to capture, and then digest and assimilate the nutrient juices of the caught victim. This behavior is called carnivorous syndrome.
The predator plants found five main mechanisms for catching prey, which do not depend on the plant belonging to a particular family:
- Jug-shaped containers - capture prey using a folded leaf that contains a mixture of digestive enzymes or colonies of bacteria.
- Traps in the form of leaves covered with sticky mucus.
- Quickly collapsing leaves.
- Catchers in the form of a vacuum bubble, which sucks the victim.
- Crab claw-like traps, also known as eel traps, force the prey to move towards the digestive organ with the hair pointing inward.
These traps can be active or passive, depending on whether the movement is conducive to seizing prey.
The size of insectivorous flowers is relatively small, and the largest animal that was ever captured by one of these flowers turned out to be a small rat. It is known that more than 150 different types of insects are identified as victims of such plants, but also arachnids (spiders and mites), mollusks (snails and slugs), earthworms and small vertebrates (small fish, amphibians, reptiles, rodents and birds) are their potential prey.
Where do predatory plants grow?
Carnivorous flowers are found in almost all ecosystems, the range of their distribution is soil poor in nutrients and minerals. That is sour, without nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These representatives of the flora can be seen on every continent except Antarctica. Predator plants are particularly plentiful in North America, Southeast Asia and Australia.
Predatory plants usually prefer to settle in wet places, which, moreover, should be open and sunny. They do not like competition, so you can meet them where other flowers and herbs do not feel well.
Insectivorous flowers can be found in wet meadows in the southeastern United States or in peat bogs in northern North America and in Eurasia. Some of them grow in the calm waters of ponds and ditches all over the world. Others are on wet, rocky cliffs or on wet sand. Often these representatives of flora are found in places where fires periodically occur, which also contributes to the reduction of competition.
Many curious botanists ask the question: where does Rosyanka live? Or where does the Flycatcher grow? Responding to them, we note that although carnivorous plants are scattered around the world, in one place is the Green Swamp Nature Reserve (Green Swamp), in the southeastern part of North Carolina, several representatives of the unique predatory flora can be found. In particular, four species of the genus Sarracenia (Sarracenia), the same number of species of Rosyanka (Drosera), ten species of the genus Bladderwort (Utricularia), three species of the genus Zhiryanka (Pinguicula) and one Venus flytrap (Dionaea) grow here.
Features and types of predatory plants
It is known that carnivorous flowers can exist without hunting insects. However, biologists believe that the nutrients produced by predation, help them grow faster and produce more seeds. As a result, they become more resistant and can spread to new areas. There is also a plant that only kills insects, but does not "eat" them. This is Gilt Cape (Plumbago auriculata).
All carnivorous flowers are divided into:
- actively catching, with sensitive hairs and moving parts. This includes Venus flytrap.
- passively catching, which in turn come in with mucous and sticky secretions on the foliage, and with traps - bubbles, pitchers, etc. The examples here are Sarracenia and Nepentes.
Many species of flora have attractive leaves that are attractive to insects, and also produce sweet nectar. In total, science knows 630 species of such insectivorous multicellular organisms, the most prominent representatives being:
- sundew - One of the largest predatory plants. Distributed on all continents except Antarctica. Reaches 1 meter in height and lives up to 50 years. The trap is sticky moving tentacles.
- Venus flytrap - has a snare trap that closes around the prey when it touches one of the sensitive hairs.
- zhiryanka most widely received in North and South America, Europe and Asia. For Zhiryanka characteristic foliage saturated green or pink color. It produces mucus acting on insects, like glue.
- pemphigus occurs in water bodies and in the moist soil of almost all continents, except Antarctica. This is the only representative of the flora, whose bubbles are used to catch the victim.
- nepentes grows in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Seychelles, India, Australia, Sumatra and Borneo. Nepentes is a liana height of 10-15 meters. To catch insects, he has leaves, water lilies. In these "vessels" contains a liquid, which killed the caught bugs. The largest nepentes can catch and absorb even small mammals (mice, rats).
- genlisea spread to South and Central America, as well as in Africa. She is armed with a "crab claw." To get into such a “claw” is easy, but getting out is almost impossible because of the hairs growing at the entrance that hold the prey. The genesis of the Genesis in its leaves is unusual: the above-ground foliage carries out photosynthesis, but under the soil the underground leaves, in the form of a spiral, catch and digest the simplest microorganisms.
Predatory plants have long been a subject of popular interest. Representatives of the flora are represented in a number of books, films, television series and video games. As a rule, these are fictional images that include exaggerated characteristics, such as their enormous size or possession of abilities that go beyond reality, and can be viewed as a kind of artistic interpretation. Two of the most famous examples of fictional carnivorous flowers in popular culture are the black comedy of the 1960s, The Little Horror Shop, and the triffids in John Wyndham's film Triffid Day.