Inside the Mysterious World of Carnivorous Plants: Snap Traps (Part Three)

Inside the Mysterious World of Carnivorous Plants: Snap Traps (Part Three)

Among all the types of carnivorous plants, snap traps—represented mainly by the iconic Venus flytrap—have fascinated us for centuries. Even Darwin was mesmerized by the plant describing it as “one of the most wonderful in the world.” After all, when do we get to see plants actively “hunting” for insects? It is the Venus fly trap that reminds us that plants are really alive—and can also be murderous.

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Inside the Mysterious World of Carnivorous Plants: Pitfall Traps (Part One)

Plants are boring. At least that is what I—as well as countless others—thought in school. Animals seemed far more exciting than studying plants. In hindsight, I wonder why I didn’t find plants interesting. One of the reasons was that I couldn’t see plants moving—with the exception of ‘touch-me-nots’ that rapidly fold inward upon touching—and they aren’t cute and cuddly as mammals are. Later, when I learned that plants produce their own sugars using water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight—a phenomenon we know as photosynthesis and achieved by only a few other life forms— I got a little interested.

But what really piqued my curiosity and captivated me was when I learned that some unusual plants go a step further: they have evolved to ‘eat meat’—insects in particular. We normally expect insects to eat plants, which in turn are preyed on by larger animals, as the food web goes. But when the roles are reversed, it is harder for us to digest that plants can actually play the role of predators.

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