Segments in this Video

Carnivorous Plants: Anatomy (03:23)


Victorian explorers discovered a partially digested rat in a plant with large pitchers near Mount Kinabalu. This episode will explore carnivorous plant's behavior. Plants capture prey using glue, pinchers, and snap traps.

Catch and Kill Insects (03:01)

Karl Linnaeus thought the idea of carnivorous plants was an abomination. Charles Darwin cultivated Drosera. The sundew traps insects in its glue.

Why Plants Turn Carnivorous (03:44)

Some live in bogs, swamps, and marshes where food sources are scarce. Tentacles encase the insect and a leaf releases chemicals to dissolve the insect. The wolf spider builds webs that compete with the sundews for food.

Different Forms (03:40)

Sundews grow in different shapes and sizes. Roridula releases a resin which traps insects. Pameridea suck out the captured bug's insides and then defecates a fertilizer that feeds the carnivorous plant.

Snap Trap Plants (05:33)

Sticky leaves provide nutrients for the plants that live in wet forests and swamps. Darwin grew the Venus flytrap to study it and noticed that the trap would not fire unless triggered by two hairs. The waterwheel plant targets seed shrimps and copepods and operate in water.

Pitfall Traps (03:53)

The pitcher plant traps prey in a deep cavity. Bromeliad leaves capture water and food because it lives so high off the ground. Poison dart frogs search for a well to raise tadpoles.

More Elaborate Traps (04:46)

Sarracenia attract insects with its sweet nectar. Bugs fall into a deep well; the plant secretes enzymes and acids to dissolve the creatures. Green lynx spiders wait to capture prey before it falls into the well.

Purple Pitcher (04:01)

This type of pitcher does not produce enzymes. Mosquito larvae eat food particles and defecate nutrients the plant can digest. The parrot-headed pitcher possesses a hood that traps tadpoles.

Relatives of Sarracenia (04:16)

On the mountains of Tepui, sun pitchers have a seam with a small hole so water can drain out but prey cannot escape. Insects cannot escape the cobra lily because of its slippery surface.

Mount Kinabalu (04:37)

There are over 130 types of nepenthes pitchers. Stewart McPherson examines a rajah plant. Ants clean the rim of the fanged pitcher to keep it slippery so prey will fall into the plant's digestive juices.

Relationships to Animal (06:34)

Termites are attracted to the White band pitcher's hairs on the rim. The flask shaped pitcher collects debris and twigs as a food source. Toxorhynchites devours other mosquito larvae.

Symbiotic Relationship (05:10)

The giant rajah plant attracts mammals. The mountain treeshrew provides nutrients as it feeds of nectar. After dark, the summit rat visits.

Credits: Murder & Mayhem (Part 1) (00:29)

Credits: Murder & Mayhem (Part 1)

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Murder & Mayhem (Part 1)

Part of the Series : Plants Behaving Badly
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Charles Darwin was fascinated by the extraordinary behavior of carnivorous plants, and we now know that he barely knew the half of it. Recently scientists have shown that many more plants are carnivorous than we ever thought. Welcome to the world of killer tomatoes and murderous potatoes. But even the more obvious carnivorous plants — sundews, flytraps and pitchers — are revealing new behavior. Carnivorous plants have featured in many sci-fi films over the years, but the reality turns out to be far stranger than the fiction.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL151295

Copyright date: ©2013

Closed Captioned

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