Dandy Designs
Some Plants Eat Bugs
Home | What We're About | Links | Contact Us

WARNING, bugs, watch out for carnivorous plants!


Most of us have seen or at least heard of plants that eat insects. The Venus' fly trap is perhaps the best known. There are others, including the pitcher plant, bladderwort, and sundew plant. Why do these plants eat bugs instead of using "normal" plant techniques?

The problem is that these plants live in nutrient-poor soil. The bogs in which most of these plants are found have very acidic soil with very low nitrogen content. "Normal" plants have difficulty growing under such conditions. So the bug-eating plants have another source to supply their nutritional needs. Since insects are especially abundant in these areas, they make the ideal food for these carnivorous plants.

The intricate adaptations built into the plants to catch insects are really amazing! The Venus' fly trap just closes rapidly on an insect trapping it in a pea-pod-like shell. Window-trap plants have a nectar-baited mouth hidden in a shaded part of the plant. At the rear of the flower is a translucent window. When the ants get ready to leave the plant they head for the window rather than the darker area from which they came. A pit exists just below the window with slippery edges. When the ant gets near the window he falls into the pit and is consumed.

Other plants use glands that secrete sticky substances that cause insects to get stuck and unable to move. The bladderworts have a sensitive trap door that springs open when the insect lands on it. A partial vacuum exists under the trap door so the insect is literally sucked into the plant.

The switch from root absorption of nutrients to these complex trapping systems is a complex and involved change. To imagine a long series of "accidents" causing such features to exist requires a lot of faith in chance and a strong imagination. It would seem that this is again a dandy design planned by Intelligence.


Copyright 2006-2009 PowerVine. All rights reserved.