insects do butterworts catch?
trapping mechanisms of butterworts are only able to catch small
insects. Larger and stronger prey, like ants or aphids, can free
themselves from the sticky mucilage. Smaller insects, like whiteflies
or 'mushroom' flies, are the preferred prey. But sometimes even big
insects with large wings are not able to escape when a large part of
the wings get in contact with the deadly mucilage.
enzymes, secreted by
the sessile glands, transform chemically the prey into nutrients,
essential for the plant growth, especially nitrogenous and phosphate
containing compounds. The non-digestible parts of the prey remain on
the surface of the leaves and come back into the nutrient cycle
together with the old, decaying leaves of the butterworts.
are even able to move their leaves when an insect is caught. Triggered
by the prey's movements, the leaf margin curls up, forming a bowl. On
one hand this movement enlarges the surface that glands can act on
digesting the insect. On the other hand the mucilage containing the
enzymes are protected against getting washed away by rain.