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Welcome to I Am Your Target Demographic and today we’re looking at carnivorous plants.
We see deadly plants in a lot of media, such as the movie and stageplay Little Shop of
Horrors, featuring the man-eating Audrey II.
Jumanji featured a fictional plant that erupted into their living room.
Videogames such as World of Warcraft and even classics like the Mario games all feature
plants as enemies, while the game Plants vs. Zombies features a whole roster of plants
to choose from.
While these plants seem completely made up, they’re closer to reality than you might
think, so let’s dive into what sort of plants exist in real life that are considered carnivorous.
In 1875, Charles Darwin wrote a book called Insectivorous Plants, which outlines his research
on plants that sustain themselves by getting nutrients from other living things, primarily
insects.
He spent a lot of time studying how much energy they spent to get their meals and how they
adapted to only responding to actual insects.
For example, the Venus Fly Trap doesn’t always trigger by false stimuli but has several
safeguards to make sure it only responds to actual insects.
So in terms of evolution, most of these plants evolved to absorb nutrients in almost a passive
way.
Zero energy expended.
The ones that do move or do expend energy need to retrieve more nutrients in return,
to justify the movement.
Let’s dive into the specifics, as the carnivorous plants are separated into five types.
The first type is categorized as Pitfall Traps.
Also called “Pitcher Plants.”
This is a prime example of expending very little energy.
They’ve evolved to have a large pitcher or cup which is full of digestive enzymes.
The plant has colorful nectar on the lid but when insects land, they find it slippery and
they fall into the cup.
The digestive enzymes then break down whatever has fallen in, into nutrients that the plant
can use.
While they primarily digest insects, larger pitfall traps can even digest rodents and
reptiles.
There are many different types of pitfall traps, many of them evolving differently and
independently of each other.
Some types have suffered from water overflow, usually from rain, so have evolved to have
a sort of overflow lip that allows water to escape.
The next type of plants are called Flypaper traps.
These are plants that utilize a glue to catch and hold their prey.
With some of these plants, the glue holds while an enzyme breaks down the insect, like
the Butterwort seen here, but some of the plants actually move and respond, albeit slowly.
This clip of what’s called a sundew has been sped up to show what slowly happens.
All it takes is one nodule to grab on, then the rest reach around and catch the prey.
The third type of carnivorous plants are called snap traps and include what is likely the
most well-known on this list, the Venus Fly Trap.
Snap traps are usually divided in half, like two flaps that snap together when small trigger
hairs are bent on the inside.
So when an unsuspecting fly lands in, it triggers this snapping motion.
To compensate for things like raindrops, the plant must sense multiple triggers in a certain
timespan in order to actually snap shut.
There are smaller snap traps that live in water nicknamed waterwheels, which are much
smaller but snap shut much faster.
Causing these traps to snap shut for pure fun can be really detrimental, as it expends
energy in exchange for nothing.
So if you ever buy a Venus Fly Trap, please don't show off to your friends by making it
snap shut for nothing.
The fourth type of carnivorous plants are called bladder traps.
These are usually very small and aquatic.
These plants have trigger hairs as well, so when something touches it, it expands on the
inside, which allows for a rush of water to enter, which takes with it anything swimming
nearby.
So when something triggers it, the poor thing is sucked right inside, to be digested.
These clips are slowed down so you can hopefully see the effect.
The last major category of carnivorous plants are called “Lobster Pots” or lobster-pot
traps.
There isn’t much footage, since these are super small and usually focus on aquatic single-celled
organizations.
But basically, these plants are built like a trap, usually with inward facing prongs
that lead creatures, like these protozoa, right into their belly.
The prongs make it easy to travel in and near impossible to travel back out.
Eventually the protozoa get digested.
There are ways for plants to be multiple categories, such as the sundew.
While it has the glue that makes it a flypaper trap, it also features the movement usually
associated with snap traps.
Now let’s zoom out.
People have a morbid fascination with these plants, which has caused them to be widely
bought and sold.
You can find boxed plants in most garden sections of large shops, including venus fly traps
and sundews, labeled as "octopus plants" to be more appealing.
This is a fun investment, as long as you do your research for how to actually keep them
alive.
Since it takes them awhile to catch and eat insects, they’re not a solution to any sort
of pest issue, so make sure you’re informed and educated before buying one.
So those are the basics of carnivorous plants.
Science fiction and fantasy stories may have embellished what they’re capable of, but
they’re still fascinating plants to research.
Hopefully this was interesting and thanks for watching!
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什麼是食蟲植物? (What are Carnivorous Plants?)

2595 分類 收藏
Yang Jerry 發佈於 2017 年 1 月 18 日
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