4 Common Carnivorous Plants

 

Is there anything more titillating than plants that can trap, kill, and digest animals? These carnivorous plants are like things from science-fiction novels but the fact of the matter is they exist in real life. For those who are particularly interested in such plants, check out some of the most famous carnivorous plants that exist.

Drosera

Drosera

There is a species if plant belonging to the Drosera genus called “sundews” and they happen to be one of the most common carnivorous plants in the world as well. These sundews look like flowers with tentacles all over them. These tentacles have a sticky substance that glitter in the sunlight which attracts insects. Once they land on the sticky dew-covered tentacles, they become trapped. The tentacles close around the insect and digestive enzymes get to work, digesting them and extracting nutrients.

Dionaea muscipula

Dionaea muscipula also known as the Venus flytrap has to be one of the most common carnivorous plants in the world. It preys on insects by luring them into its leaves using sweet nectar. A soon as the insect steps into its “mouth,” it triggers tiny hairs which stimulates impulses in the plant and makes it close it leaves. Glands found in the leaves release a digestive enzyme that breaks down the insect and the leaves absorb the nutrients. These days, it is not uncommon to find Venus Flytraps for sale for people who want them as “pets”.

Nepenthes

Nepenthes

Plants known as tropical pitchers or Money Cups belong to the plant genus Nepenthes. These plants have brightly colored leaves that look a lot like pitchers. The plant makes use of its bright color and its nectar to lure in insects but the inside walls of the leaves are very slippery because of waxy scales. The insects that go in and land on the leaves then slip and slide to the bottom of the pitcher where digestive enzymes are waiting. One plant that is similar to this is the Sarracenia also known as the North American Pitcher Plant. The plant also has digestive enzymes at the bottom of the pitcher-like leaves although in some species, it is water that drowns the insects and digestive enzymes in the water is what breaks them down.

Utricularia

There are some species of Utricularia known as Bladderworts and these plants are also carnivorous. The plant gets its name from tiny bladder-like sacs that are found in its leaves and stems. These plants come with mechanisms that work like trap doors with a vacuum effect on insects when they trigger tiny hairs which could be found in the vicinity of the “door”. The digestive enzymes in the sacs break down the insects that are trapped.

 

Facts about the Immortal Jellyfish

 

Facts about the Immortal Jellyfish

The oceans take up about ¾ of the earth’s total area and it is a hotbed for some really unusual creatures that scientists are discovering just now. In fact, more and more unusual water animals wash up on shores and beaches all over the world as the years go by. One unusual ocean creature that proves to be really interesting to scientists and people in general is the immortal jellyfish. Why, just the name itself is enough to make you wonder what earned the jellyfish the grandiose moniker.

• The immortal jellyfish (scientific name – Turritopsis nutricula) was discovered in 1883 in the Mediterranean Sea. However, it’s extremely unique regeneration powers were not known to researchers and scientists until the mid-1990s.

• The unique regeneration process of the mature immortal jellyfish is quite unique. When it is injured or starving, it will attach itself to a surface in warm waters and turns into a sort of living blob. From this blob state, its cells will undergo a process called “transdifferentiation”.

• Transdifferentiation is a process wherein cells will turn into different kinds of cells. For instance, the muscle cells of the immortal jellyfish can turn into egg cells or even sperm cells. Nerve cells may also turn into muscle cells, and this means that the immortal jellyfish has transformation powers, the likes of which have never been seen and unmatched in the animal kingdom.

• Ever since the discovery of the immortal jellyfish in the Mediterranean Sea, more identical species have been found in places like the Atlantic Ocean side of Panama, Spain, and even Japan. The reason they are so spread out is that they get caught in ballast waters that come from long-distance ocean cargo vessels.

• Though most of the species are genetically identical, they have come up with different physical adaptations depending on their environments. For instance, specimens that live in tropical waters have 8 tentacles while ones from more temperate regions have 24 tentacles.

• Despite the “immortal” tag, these jellyfish can and do die. For instance, they still get eaten by predators and the process of transdifferentiation only kicks in when they have reached maturity. If they starve or get sick as polyps, they do not regenerate and therefore die.

• The main diet for these jellyfish usually consists of fish eggs, plankton and tiny mollusks.

• These jellyfish are quite small and while they do sting, they are not poisonous like the box jellyfish which is also tiny at just 2.5cm long.