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Why Did Some Plants Choose To Feed On Meat?

Through his work, Darwin has come up with the idea that carnivore is an improved adaptation to nutrient-poor soils. Darwin’s experiments revealed the importance of captured prey as a source of nitrogen for carnivorous plants. These experiments were the beginning and basis of studies on the relationship between hunting and nutrient intake in carnivorous plants in the 20th century.

Plants are usually photosynthetic autotrophics, producing their own nutrients only with sunlight, water, CO2 and some minerals. Most plant structures and functions develop in response to low concentrations of environmental resources. Plants that use other creatures as sources of nitrogen, phosphorus, amino acids and some minerals, as animals normally do, are called Carnivorous Plants.

Plants, like humans, animals and other creatures, need a balanced diet in order to lead a healthy life.

In order to be fed balanced, plants must take the nutrients in their environment to the extent of their needs. Each plant’s need for nutrient elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, chlorine, molybdenon and boron differs from another. In order for a plant to qualify as carnivore, it must bear some characteristics. These features include;

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1. Shoot and capture prey
2. Obtaining nutrients from prey
3. It can be listed as using the obtained nutrients for its own development and life.

So why did these plants choose to feed on meat? Every plant species on earth has survived to this day by completing its evolutionary process in a special ecological environment. In this process, plants have preferred different feeding routes in order to obtain nutrients. Carnivorous plants are also differentiated to supply their needs such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium from outside the soil. These plants provide essential minerals by hunting insects, spiders, crustaceans, mites and animals with one cell.

Carnivorous plants have developed different adaptations to attract prey consisting of insects and other small animals.

Nectar, color and smell in the structure of the trap pull the prey towards the trap. In ibrik plants, insects are attracted to ibrik-shaped traps withbright, flower-like colors, as well as honey extract, rotten meat, fungal odors and sugar-rich secretions. If the trap is ibrik-shaped, the trap is suffocated in the liquid at the bottom and compressed to death on the sticky leaf. Apart from that, death occurs during the digestion process. Carnivorous plants need enzymes to digest their prey.

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Enzyme secretion occurs only when prey containing the necessary mineral or nutrient is caught. While most carnivorous plants produce their own enzymes, some wait for the prey they catch to rot and absorb decomposition substances. Some use both their own enzymes and the enzymes of the bacteria with which they have a symbiotic relationship in the digestive process.

Carnivorous plants, also referred to in the literature as “Insect Eating Plants” or “Insect Trapping Plants”, were scientifically researched by Charles Darwin for the first time.

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