Bladderworts and their traps


12 species of the carnivorous plants known as bladderworts, grow native on Long Island, NY. In the first two photographs, we see the horned bladderwort, Utricularia cornuta, growing in the shallow waters along the sandy shore habitat of a coastal plains pond. The first photograph is of its elegant yellow flower, and the second shows the details of the plant that grow underground, where its miniature traps consume its miniscule prey. The other three photographs are of the striped bladderwort, Utricularia striata, in a shallow vernal pond. The yellow flower and foxtail-like growth habit of the plant are evident in the first photograph, and the second has the detail of the trap structures which float beneath the surface of the water. In the third photo, we see the same traps that have caught their prey, the purple color being the digestive enzymes secreted by the plant. These traps are observed to flatten, as they compress and crush their victims, while absorbing the nutrients that they derive from their captives.


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