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Carnivorous plants

Bonus content from the Aquarium Fish International June 2012 column The Aquabotanist

By Stephen G. Noble | March 28, 2012

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Bonus contentTo qualify as a carnivore, a plant normally has the following characteristics:

  • A capability of capturing prey by the use of some type of trap, such as pearl-shaped bladders with semi-transparent walls or the ability to fold leaves to create a trapping vesicle.
  • The ability to produce enzymes or the use of bacteria capable of digesting the prey.
  • Ability to absorb and use the nutrients from the digested prey. However, some carnivorous aquatic plants also use a root system in conjunction with their traps for obtaining nutrition.

One might wonder why any aquatic plant would need such a complicated system for obtaining nutrition, especially since aquatic plants receive nourishment from nutrient-rich water or the substrate. Carnivorous plants are frequently found in water that does not contain a sufficient quantity of minerals needed to thrive, and as a result they have magnificently adapted to their environment.

Carnivorous plants are similar to other aquatic plants because they also have chlorophyll in their cells and conduct photosynthesis. They just have an extra way of obtaining nutrients.

 

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