Sundews - Fatal Attraction for Insects!
There are over 180 species of sundews in the world, with some occurring on every continent except Antarctica - 3 species are native to Scotland. Typically found in wet areas with acidic, nutrient-poor soils, these carnivorous plants gain food from insects that are digested by enzymes secreted from their tentacles. The resultant nutrient soup is absorbed through the leaf surface.
Round-leaved sundews (Drosera rotundifolia) with flower buds at Coille Ruigh in Glen Affric. The tall flower spikes are thought to make the flowers more visible to pollinating insects, which are of different species to those that fall prey to the sundews.
Leaf of a round-leaved sundew, showing the tentacles and the sticky liquid at the end of each one that attracts, and then ensnares, insect prey.
Close-up view of a round-leaved sundew, with an insect caught on some tentacles that are bending inwards, so that the insect can be brought into contact with as many tentacles as possible, to speed up the digestion process.
A midge's nightmare! Massed leaves of a great sundew (Drosera anglica) near Loch Mullardoch in Glen Cannich.
Sundews usually catch small insects such as midges and flies, but here this great sundew at Coille Ruigh in Glen Affric has caught a large heath butterfly (Coenonympha tullia).
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