How do carnivorous plants capture and consume their prey
Carnivorous plants are those plants which trap and consume small animals such as insects and other small arthropods, from which they obtain most of their nutrients. They are even found to trap and consume small vertebrates such as rats and frogs. Carnivorous plants employ a variety of mechanisms for trapping their prey such as

  • Pitfall traps – The pitcher plant and cobra lily is an example of a plant employing pitfall traps. These plants usually have  deep cup like leaves, which are filled with digestive enzymes. The insects which are attracted to the plant by its nectar, scent or colour are trapped in the pit.
  • Flypaper traps – The sundews plant uses flypaper traps to catch its prey. These plants have evolved glands that secrete sticky mucilage on their leaves. Lured by the colourful leaves and the sticky secretion resembling nectar, the insects get stuck on the leaves once they make contact with it.
  • Snap traps – The venus flytrap plant employs snap traps to catch its prey. In this method rapid movements of leaves are employed to trap prey. The leaf is modified in the form of a snap trap with a fold in the middle. When a insect make contact with this leaf, the leaves close rapidly, thus trapping the insect.
  • Bladder traps – Plants such as bladderworts uses this method to catch its prey.  It makes use of a bladder in which vacuum is created. On stimulation by its prey, it is sucked into its bladder where its digested.
  • Lobster-pot traps – This mechanism is commonly employed by the corkscrew plant. The design of a lobster-pot trap is in such a way that its easy to enter but difficult to leave. The trap is lined with hair that keeps the prey moving towards the digestive mechanism.

Once the prey is caught, the process of digestion starts. These plants makes use of digestive enzymes for the process of digestion, which are secreted from within the plant with the help of bacteria. One other method employed for digestion of its prey include the participation of killer bugs or assassin bugs, which live on the carnivorous plant. These bugs feed on the captured insects and excrete faeces, from which the plant absorbs its nutrients.

References


1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnivorous_plant
2. http://www.hindu.com/seta/2006/05/18/stories/2006051801951800.htm
3. http://phys.org/news/2013-06-death-carnivorous-prey.html
4. http://www.necps.org/faq.html