Living in Florida one should be informed on the various species of carnivorous plants, or insectivorous plants as some prefer. Due to a lack of nutrients in their surrounding environments these plants have adapted to feast on the native invertebrates, amphibians and some small mammals, in order to survive in the wild. They are often found in bogs and fens because of their abundance of water, sunlight and insect life. As many as thirteen species have been recorded in a single bog. One has to be weary of what lurks in Florida swamps.
When one thinks of carnivorous plants their minds are often lead to the infamous Venus Fly Trap. There are five-hundred and ninety five species of venus fly traps, all of them deadly. Because the venus fly trap has no mussels or tendons it rely’s on fluid pressure in order to secure its kill. It has small trigger hairs inside its mouth that alert the plant to any incoming prey. Once the hairs do their work the mouth is able to close in less than a second. The plant then holds it’s prey in a light grip and continues to close to an airtight seal, where it then takes twelve hours to process that what is in its mouth is food. In the five to twelve day digesting period the small innards of the prey are digested. The exoskeleton of the victim is left after the plants mouth is open, where it sits until rain or wind removes it. Finally if you put your finger in a Venus fly trap too much, they will die.
Pitcher plants are another favorite among the insectivorous community. Similar Venus Fly traps pitcher plant have small sensory hairs inside their tub-like body. These hairs are angled down so once food is inside it is trapped forever. Inside their bodies there is a sweet nectar that releases an enticing aroma that lures insects to their doom. The inside walls of this plant are extremely slippery, so when its victims come to indulge on its sweet scent they slip into the depths below. Depending on the species of Pitcher plant the prey will either meet a slow death due to drowning, or an extremely painful one by means of being dissolved in acid. Other species of pitcher plants digest through their leaves rather than a tube-like body. Their leaves are of the consistency of fly paper which stops any meandering insect in its tracks.
Catopsis berteroniana, more commonly known as the Powdery Strap Air Plant, is a Florida native that is quite abundant. These particular plants are blown around by strong oceanic gales which lead them to various tree branches, where they are ensnared, and wait to devour flesh. When it rains these plants collect water in a small reservoir in the center of their bodies, where it derives nutrients, and traps insects. However, they consume many more non-aquatic insects which become trapped and confused by the plant’s waxy leaves. Like the pitcher plant the Air plant then digests its freshly drowned victims.