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 Can plants eat insects?

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PostSubject: Can plants eat insects?   Thu Feb 26 2009, 12:01

Can plants eat insects?

The Venus Flytrap

Yes!

At least three different plants turn the tables on insects and eat them instead of the reverse. Each passively, but cleverly, lures its prey, captures its kill with ease, digests its meal by using its plant juices, and then prepares for its next unsuspecting victim.

The pitcher plant of Borneo and of tropical Asia, which has a back-up lure in place should the first fail, is the most notorious of the trio. This plant exudes the scent of sweet nectar that most insects find appealing, and when one approaches to investigate, it finds an equally attractive pitcher-shaped plant with a red-hued rim and cover. Once the insect steps over the rim to drink from the plant, it loses its footing on the smooth interior, slides to the bottom of the abyss, and lands in a pool of liquid, which digests the victim once it has drowned.

The Sundew plant, aptly named for the sticky fluid on the upper part of each leaf that appears to the insect to be dewdrops, packages its victim before digesting it. Small, hair-like projections, which cover the surface of each leaf, are responsible for the sticky fluid on each leaf that lures the insect to the plant. Once the insect touches one of these "hairs," it is stuck, and the other hairs on the upper side of the leaf bend inward towards the center of the leaf, to wrap it in a neat, tight package, thus ensuring that it will stay for dinner. The "dew," which for the insect turned out to be a don't, digests it over the course of two days, after which the crafty hairs reopen for business.

The Venus's-flytrap, hailing from parts of North and of South Carolina, is the most gripping of these predatory plants, and practices true Southern hospitality by inviting any fly to stop by at any time. The plant waits for visitors with its leaves spread open and, when a fly happens by and touches one of the hairs that rim the plant's leaves, the Venus's-flytrap snaps its jaws shut, and has lived up to its name. After the plant's juices digest the fly, its leaves reopen, and the unassuming plant awaits its next caller.

Source: coolquiz.com
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