Bladderwort (Utricularia sp.)
The carnivorous Utricularia plants utilize sophisticated vacuum-driven “bladders” to trap and digest prey.
As water is extracted from inside the trap, the walls of the bladder are flexed inwards, storing potential energy. Small trigger hairs act as levers that delicately seal the trap and maintain the vacuum. When prey touch the hairs, the seal is disturbed - and water rushes into the trap, carrying the prey with it. This happens in as little as one hundredth of a second!
Once inside the bladder, digestive enzymes are secreted, typically digesting the prey in a few hours. Meanwhile, water is being pumped out of the trap, setting it for its next meal.
Image courtesy of Carolina Biological Supply Compan

Bladderwort (Utricularia sp.)

The carnivorous Utricularia plants utilize sophisticated vacuum-driven “bladders” to trap and digest prey.

As water is extracted from inside the trap, the walls of the bladder are flexed inwards, storing potential energy. Small trigger hairs act as levers that delicately seal the trap and maintain the vacuum. When prey touch the hairs, the seal is disturbed - and water rushes into the trap, carrying the prey with it. This happens in as little as one hundredth of a second!

Once inside the bladder, digestive enzymes are secreted, typically digesting the prey in a few hours. Meanwhile, water is being pumped out of the trap, setting it for its next meal.

Image courtesy of Carolina Biological Supply Compan

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