Carnivorous Plants Choose Their Bug Meals
In swamps and wetlands around the world a fascinating variety of flora known as carnivorous plants flourish. The most famous is probably the Venus-Fly Trap, know for its penchant to lure, trap and consume the – you guessed it – Venus Fly.
Research on pollinating insects has uncovered an interesting fact about carnivores – they know how to lure in both pollinating and non-pollinating insects but eat only the latter.
The plant wants the pollinator to carry their own pollin, so the plants use three separate systems to make sure they can tell the difference in insect types.
Carnivorous plants use different attractants (lures) for different types of bugs. On their flowers, they use nectar; near their traps, they use a specific scent or color pattern.
The plants also employ both time and space in their quest to catch their meals while making sure their pollin lives on.
They bloom first, before they’ve created a trap, so pollinators won’t come anywhere near the dangerous areas. They also make sure to build traps far distant from where the plants flowers are. Flowers are high off the ground for flying insects, but traps are near the earth to lure crawling bugs.