Tricks, traps & tree shrew toilets

In this guest post, Chris Thorogood writes about some of the ingenious mechanisms that pitcher plants use to trap prey, reviewed in his recent Tansley insight. The pitcher trap is a striking example of convergent evolution: unrelated lineages of pitcher plants have independently evolved remarkably similar traps as adaptations to growing in nutrient-poor environments. In fact...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 216:3, November 2017

Trigger warning: how the Venus flytrap got its snap Botanical carnivory is just one of many ways in which plants have adapted to cope with low levels of nutrients in the soil. Carnivorous plants have evolved specialised leaves, called traps, for prey attraction, capture and digestion. The traps are usually less effective in photosynthesis, but extremely effective in obtaining ...
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Turning defence into a carnivorous offence in the Cape sundew

Insects landing on the carnivorous Cape sundew (Drosera capensis) don’t stand a chance. The sticky mucilage secreted from their leaves holds the victim in place while the leaf curls over to get a better grip. The plant then releases digestive enzymes that break down the insect so its nutrients can be absorbed into the leaf, supplementing the limited nutrients gained by the plan...
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