Las plantas carnívoras

Muchos de nosotros nos hemos preguntado si las llamadas «plantas carnívoras» realmente comen carne —e incluso humanos—. Ante este temor, quisimos saber cómo son este tipo de plantas, cuáles son sus características y sus funciones.

Las plantas carnívoras crecen en zonas pantanosas y rocosas, en donde el suelo no es muy rico en nutrientes, por lo cual necesitan adquirir esos nutrientes por otros medios —no sólo del suelo, con sus raíces—, así que atrapan insectos para alimentarse.

Dependiendo de su tamaño, algunas plantas carnívoras pueden cazar sólo insectos —insectívoras— o también ranas, peces pequeños, gusanos, pequeños roedores, escorpiones y lagartijas, de ahí que se les conozca como plantas carnívoras.

Tipos de plantas carnívoras

Hasta el momento se conocen 630 especies de plantas carnívoras, las cuales se clasifican en 14 diferentes géneros, de acuerdo con la forma en que atraen y atrapan a sus víctimas; es decir, cada género posee una trampa característica para capturar a su alimento. Estos son algunos ejemplos de plantas carnívoras:

Pelos pegajosos. La planta tiene una capa delgada de pelos o tentáculos viscosos que secretan un aroma a miel. Cuando un insecto se posa en ella, la hoja y los tentáculos se cierran y lo atrapan.

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Algunos ejemplos de este género son Drosera, Byblis, Drosophyllum y Pinguicula.

Pinzas o cepos. Este tipo de plantas secreta un néctar dulce que atrae a los insectos. Cuando el insecto se posa sobre ella, la hoja de la planta se cierra y el insecto queda atrapado; éste, cuando se mueve para tratar de escapar, activa los jugos digestivos de la planta y ella lo digiere.

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Cuando el proceso termina, la hoja de la planta que atrapó al insecto se cae, y poco tiempo después nace una nueva.

Video de una planta carnívora «venus atrapa-moscas»:

Trampas de caída. Las plantas carnívoras que pertenecen a este género tienen un mecanismo similar a una pequeña bolsa; si un insecto entra en ellas, le será imposible salir, ya que en el interior de la planta hay tentáculos invertidos o manchas traslúcidas que confunden al animal, logrando así que se canse y se ahogue en el fondo de la planta con los jugos digestivos de ésta.

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Video de una planta carnívora Nepenthes:

Trampas combinadas. El mecanismo de trampas combinadas consiste en la activación tanto de pinzas como de pelos pegajosos.

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Trampa langosta-olla. Este tipo de trampa es doble, pues tiene forma de bolsa y además tiene una especie de «tapa» que cubre la «entrada» a la planta. Cuando un insecto entra en ella, resbala por la viscosidad interior y también se ahoga en el fondo con los jugos digestivos de la planta.

Trampas mecánicas —también conocidas como vejigas de succión—. Este tipo de plantas carnívoras —llamadas Utricularias—, son acuáticas y sus tallos terminan en unos pequeños globos que tienen una abertura con tentáculos; la planta realiza un pequeño bombeo que mueve el agua y atrae a los pececillos o a los insectos acuáticos.

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Cuando alguno de éstos toca los tentáculos, la vejiga se dilata y absorbe al animal.

Video de una planta carnívora acuática:

30 comentarios en “Las plantas carnívoras

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  4. David Corredor.

    Muy interesante que la naturaleza tenga tan diversas formas de vida y que estas plantas carnivoras tengan estas estrategias para atrapar a sus victimas y alimentarse de ellas.

  5. Muy buen artículo. Nunca e tenido una planta carnívora pero lo cierto es que hace años me apetecía y al final la compre. Tardó muchísimo en germinarme pero parece poco a poco está saliendo, aún es muy pequeña. Este tipo de plantas no son peligrosas para los humanos no?
    gracias y un saludo
    Sonia Fernandez

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