You are here:

Biology/Photosynthesis

Advertisement


Question
what advantages does carnivorous plants have compare to plants in, terms of making energy

Answer
Carnivorous plants are plants that derive some or most of their nutrients (but not energy) from trapping and consuming animals or protozoans, typically insects and other arthropods. Carnivorous plants have adapted to grow in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, especially nitrogen, such as acidic bogs and rock outcroppings

True carnivory is thought to have evolved independently six times in five different orders of flowering plants, and these are now represented by more than a dozen genera. These include about 630 species that attract and trap prey, produce digestive enzymes, and absorb the resulting available nutrients. Additionally, over 300 protocarnivorous plant species in several genera show some but not all of these characteristics.

Five basic trapping mechanisms are found in carnivorous plants.

1.Pitfall traps (pitcher plants) trap prey in a rolled leaf that contains a pool of digestive enzymes or bacteria.
2.Flypaper traps use a sticky mucilage.
3.Snap traps utilize rapid leaf movements.
4.Bladder traps suck in prey with a bladder that generates an internal vacuum.
5.Lobster-pot traps force prey to move towards a digestive organ with inward-pointing hairs.
These traps may be active or passive, depending on whether movement aids the capture of prey. For example, Triphyophyllum is a passive flypaper that secretes mucilage, but whose leaves do not grow or move in response to prey capture. Meanwhile, sundews are active flypaper traps whose leaves undergo rapid acid growth, which is an expansion of individual cells as opposed to cell division. The rapid acid growth allows the sundew tentacles to bend, aiding in the retention and digestion of prey.carnivorous plants are poor competitors, because they invest too heavily in structures that have no selective advantage in nutrient-rich habitats. They succeed only where other plants fail. Carnivores are to nutrients what cacti are to water. Carnivory only pays off when the nutrient stress is high and where light is abundant.[37] When these conditions are not met, some plants give up carnivory temporarily. Sarracenia spp. produce flat, non-carnivorous leaves (phyllodes) in winter. Light levels are lower than in summer, so light is more limiting than nutrients, and carnivory does not pay. The lack of insects in winter exacerbates the problem. Damage to growing pitcher leaves prevent them from forming proper pitchers, and again, the plant produces a phyllode instead.

Many other carnivores shut down in some seasons. Tuberous sundews die back to tubers in the dry season, bladderworts to turions in winter, and non-carnivorous leaves are made by most butterworts and Cephalotus in the less favourable seasons. Utricularia macrorhiza varies the number of bladders it produces based on the expected density of prey.[38] Part-time carnivory in Triphyophyllum peltatum may be due to an unusually high need for potassium at a certain point in the life cycle, just before flowering.

The more carnivorous a plant is, the less conventional its habitat is likely to be. Venus flytraps live in a very specialised habitat, whereas less carnivorous plants (Byblis, Pinguicula) are found in less unusual habitats (i.e., those typical for non-carnivores). Byblis and Drosophyllum both come from relatively arid regions and are both passive flypapers, arguably the lowest maintenance form of trap. Venus flytraps filter their prey using the teeth around the trap's edge, so as not to waste energy on hard-to-digest prey. In evolution, laziness pays, because energy can be used for reproduction, and short-term benefits in reproduction will outweigh long-term benefits in anything else.

Carnivory rarely pays, so even carnivorous plants avoid it when there is too little light or an easier source of nutrients, and they use as few carnivorous features as are required at a given time or for a given prey item. There are very few habitats stressful enough to make investing biomass and energy in trigger hairs and enzymes worthwhile. Many plants occasionally benefit from animal protein rotting on their leaves, but carnivory that is obvious enough for the casual observer to notice is rare

Biology

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Deb

Expertise

I can answer questions relating to general biology, cell biology, human physiology, biochemistry,molecular biology,questions on cells, their organelles, membranes,botany, anatomy,physiology, human physiology;organelles, membranes and host-pathogen interaction also homework help

Experience

Over 12 years working in the health care; Cell Biology, Molecular Biology

Organizations
Carolina Medical

Education/Credentials
PHD and Nursing

Past/Present Clients
Carolina Medical

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.