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Author Topic: What is the point of Venus fly traps?  (Read 7650 times)

paul.fr

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What is the point of Venus fly traps?
« on: 27/03/2007 21:30:47 »
does anything eat venus fly traps? and what service do they provide to other plants or flowers...if any?
« Last Edit: 27/03/2007 22:08:39 by chris »


 

Offline chris

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What is the point of Venus fly traps?
« Reply #1 on: 27/03/2007 22:18:17 »
Venus fly traps are examples of carnivorous plants. Other members of this exclusive club include sundews and pitcher plants. They all use different methods to lure insects (and sometimes larger animals) to their deaths, but their reasons are the same.

They are bog plants and are usually found growing on extremely poor soils, which have often been leeched of all their nutrients. This would normally constrain the growth of a plant which, in addition to sunlight and CO2 from the air, requires trace elements from the soil to spice up its photosynthetic cooking pot. Foremost amongst these are phosphorus and nitrogen, which are critical for DNA and protein synthesis. Without these molecules cells cannot divide and the plant could not grow.

As a result of this selective pressure carnivorous plants have adapted to flourish in such nutrient-poor environments by looking to the air for their additional nutritional requirements. Not in the form of gases but other living things that they can digest.

In all cases once the plant secures a "catch" it breaks down its meal using a cocktail of degradative enzymes, similar to our own digestive juices. The chemically chewed-up products of these repasts are then absorbed locally into the leaf (all of these plants form their trap machinery from modified leaves).

So in summary, carnivorous plants have developed a few key mutations that enables them to survive in a hostile environment where competition from other plants, and possibly predation by animals, is much lower.

Chris
 

another_someone

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What is the point of Venus fly traps?
« Reply #2 on: 27/03/2007 22:29:05 »
Carnivorous plants I was aware of, but I had never heard of anything larger than insects being trapped by them - this intrigues me - how large an animal can they capture and digest, and how large a plant are we talking about?
 

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What is the point of Venus fly traps?
« Reply #3 on: 28/03/2007 00:05:52 »
In 2003 I interviewed Dr Carlton Wood, who was at Sussex University at the time. He works on these plants and showed me a picture of a rodent wedged firmly head-first in a pitcher plant's funnel. It wasn't pushed, it had fallen in!

I think it's also safe to say that that plant have filled its nitrogen requirements for the next few decades...!
 

Offline Bored chemist

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What is the point of Venus fly traps?
« Reply #4 on: 28/03/2007 19:39:11 »
The plant would die in the fullness of time and, therefore, provide nitrogen for other plants too.

I presume that something eats carnivorous plants because otherwise there would be lots of them.
 

paul.fr

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What is the point of Venus fly traps?
« Reply #5 on: 29/03/2007 01:49:06 »

I presume that something eats carnivorous plants because otherwise there would be lots of them.

I thought that too BC, but can find no information! Unless to area's they grow are so poor that they can not overpopulate them.
 

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What is the point of Venus fly traps?
« Reply #5 on: 29/03/2007 01:49:06 »

 

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