Carnivorous plants were known for their stricta diet consisting of flies, caterpillars and small spiders. However, the results of a new study prove that, if possible, they are not averse to eat more juicy food, such as young salamanders. Such a conclusion was made by Canadian scientists while observing the inhabitants of sphagnum bogs in the province of Ontario, between 2017 and 2018. The discovery allows you to take a fresh look at predatory plants and the behavior of reptiles.
Plant trapped which were discoveredcubs salamanders, called sarracenia purpurea (Sarracenia purpurea). It grows mainly in the marshes of North America, which are covered with a thick cover of sphagnum moss. Biologists have always believed that the plant eats only insects, drawing them into leaves-traps, filled with sweet juice. Subsequently, the victims are split into pieces using bacteria in the juice, which secrete nutrients to the plant.
What do predatory plants eat?
It turned out that trapped predatory plantsthere are larger victims. In a study of sphagnum bogs in 2017, in 144 plants of purple purpura biologists found eight young salamanders, which only recently grew out of a larval state. In the next two years, researchers found more and more vertebral victims, and sometimes several animals were trapped at once.
Scientists have three guesses about howreptile animals could become victims of plants. First, they could fall into the trap when they tried to catch moths or midges who wanted to drink sweet juice. Secondly, they could well be there trying to escape from predators. Thirdly, they could find themselves in the captivity of plants by chance, when they were getting out of the swamp to land.
Sarracenia purpurea (Sarracenia purpurea)
Being trapped, salamanders hardly diedbecause of the bacteria contained in the plant sap. Most likely, the cause of their death was overheating, because the leaves sometimes for a very long time were under the influence of direct sunlight. They could also die due to high acidity, or simply from hunger. With confidence we can only say that the death of salamanders was long and painful - sometimes they were trapped for up to 19 days.
On the subject of the interaction of plants and animals alsoWe recommend that you read our material on how rodents use carnivorous plants as a toilet. Surprisingly, but both sides win - rodents get nourishing nectar, and the plant feeds on their excrement.
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