In habitats like bogs and rainforests plants employ carnivory to satiate their needs for nutrients. You may be familiar with Venus Fly Traps which have hair triggers on their leaves that snap shut when insects and small frogs activate them. Today we want to introduce you to two more fascinating types of carnivorous plants.
Sundews, use a 'flytrap' technique to ensnare and digest prey with their mobile glue-tipped tentacles and digestive glands like some sort of nightmarish terrestrial sea-anemone. Occurring worldwide and with nearly 200 species, Drosera are extremely diverse, ranging from tiny annual rosettes to small perennial bushes.
Carnivorous pitcher plants (Nepenthes) use a 'pitfall' technique to ensnare their prey. The slippery-rimmed traps are designed to lure and consume insects and even small animals to supplement the plant’s nutrition. In Borneo we find specialized dung-eating pitcher plants. These remarkable plants are highly nutrient dependent on the droppings of small mammals that visit their pitchers to feed on nectar. Check out the shrews making a deposit while snacking on nectar.
Not all animals that come in contact with pitcher plants become a meal. One of the world's smallest frog species (Microhyla nepenthicola) will lay its eggs nowhere else than in the watery chambers of Borneo's Flask-shaped Pitcher Plant, making them completely dependent on the plants. The tadpoles grow in relative safety, except when they are faced with other water-dwelling predators including huge carnivorous mosquitoes. After several weeks they will mature into tiny froglets and make their escape from the pitcher.