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.

Citations:

Carnivorous Bromeliads,Carnivorous Plants in Florida,The Mysterious Venus Fly Trap,About Carnivorous Pitcher Plants

AAAaannnnd this is what all three plants in the future will look like SO THIS BLOG WILL PREPARE YOU … good luck

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8 responses »

  1. I was unaware that there are five-hundred and ninety five species of venus fly traps in existence. I also didn’t know that there we 3 major types of the species, when I think of a venus fly trap I commonly think of the first one mentioned. I appreciate the forewarning… I wouldn’t want to end up like Boba Fett.

  2. Venus fly traps are incredible. I had no idea there are so many different forms of them. Not only are they interesting looking I think they are quite beautiful. Thanks for the read.

  3. James Mitchell says:

    I agree that venus flytraps are indeed quite amazing. Being a Florida native, I had several growing up but could never seem to keep them alive longer than a few months. I too was entirely unaware of the total number of venus fly trap species and find it quite fascinating that there method of capture relies solely on fluid pressure.

  4. Tim L. says:

    I had no idea venus fly traps were native to Florida. I had always thought they originated in the Amazon or some other distant rain forest.

  5. Rosaleen Magnone says:

    These plants are truly amazing! I am basically a Florida native, moving here from Virginia when I was 4, and I had no idea that there were so many different kinds of Venus Fly Traps or that they didn’t have any muscles or tendons. I find these plants to really interesting but also quite frightening.

  6. Jessica Langstine says:

    Well let me just start of by saying if that last picture is what they are going to look like in the future than I think we are screwed. Much like those who commented before me I had no idea these plants were native to Florida. BUT then again, I have seen one of those pictures when I have been out roaming the woods. ALSO let me point out the obvious question… does anyone else find it interesting that it is necessary to know if you put your finger in the mouth of the Venus Fly Trap to often it will die? WHO TESTED THIS?

  7. I love the Venus fly trap. There is something just so animating about them. I also new that there are different kinds of Venus Fly traps and they are all so different and interesting I just love seeing species that I have never seen before. I think I really like them because their structures are just so E.T. like that I just like to draw them.

    ~Mackenzie Vartanian

  8. I had a venus fly trap as a kid and loved watching it actually “catch” flies, gnats, etc, and once watched it ensnare a moth of no small size. I went out every day to watch as it digested whatever it ate, and it was so cool to know that there are plants which eat animals. Not something you’d expect at first but in reality it’s so natural. I didn’t know that we have here in florida so many different types of carnivorous plants, but it makes more sense when I take into account the amount of swamp-like areas and bogs, marshes, and the everglades. I really hope that they don’t turn into the Star Wars monster depicted someday, although it’d be pretty sweet to see.
    -Ailish Reilly

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