Welcome to You Ask Andy

Kevin McGrath, age 15, of Johnson City, Tenn., for his question:

CAN SOME PLANTS REALLY EAT INSECTS?

A number of strange and unusual plants called carnivorous plants can trap and consume insects and other small animals. In effect, these plants do indeed eat the animals they trap.

The Venus flytrap has small white flowers. It catches insects in small spring traps at the tips of its petals.

Plants called butterworts live in water. On their leaves they have tiny bag like traps in which they catch small water animals.

Crawling insects get caught on the broad, sticky leaves of butterworts.

Pitcher plants have deep red, globe shaped flowers. Their hollowed out leaves resemble pitchers and are partially filled with sweet, sticky fluids. These fluids attract insects, which then drown in them.

Little hairs cover the leaves of sundews and dew threads. A tiny pink droplet of "glue" tips each hair and insects get stuck in this glue. Then the leaf slowly wraps around them.

Carnivorous plants probably digest the soft parts of the bodies of their victims.

 

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