Why Do Carnivorous Plants Trap Insects?

Why Do Carnivorous Plants Trap Insects?
Carnivorous plants adapt to capture prey as in a trap, and have the means to digest and absorb the nutrients from what it has trapped. According to the International Carnivorous Plant Society, there are more than 670 species and subspecies of carnivorous plants in the world.

Source of Nutrients

Carnivorous plants are looking for certain nutrients, and have adapted to trap their prey and digest it with enzymes it produces or by use of bacterial enzymes.


Though a majority of plants are mostly seeking nitrogen, this is no different for carnivorous plants. Insects can provide a great deal of what these plants need.

Other Nutrients

Insects also contain small percentages of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. Certain genus value the phosphorus in insects. Bladderworts, an underwater plant, are some of the largest carnivorous plants and value magnesium and potassium.

Common Insects Eaten by Plants

Mosquito larvae are a common insect trapped by many carnivorous plants that grow in water, but these might also ingest fish fry, rotifers and daphnia, according to the International Carnivorous Plant Society. More common insects caught or trapped by these plants are ants, beetles, moths, flies, spiders and wasps.

Easy Plant Prey

Insects happen to be prime food because of the way they crawl, fly or swim into them.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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