I hunt with a vaccum,
My traps bristle with hair,
I’m a voracious predator,
But you might not know I’m there.
This week’s mystery creature is the flat-leaved bladderwort! This nondescript wetland plant is the most sophisticated hunter in the entire plant kingdom.
Beneath the waves, the bladderwort has two types of branches;that look a lot like milfoil and long, stringy tendrils covered in large green bubbles. These bubbles, called bladders are where the bladderwort shines.
The bladderwort’s bladders have a hard outer shells that contain a vacuum. Long trigger hairs sprouting from the bladder’s opening stretch out into the water, waiting for an unsuspecting insect or even tadpole to pass by. When a careless creature brushed against one of these hairs, it snaps the bladder open and the vacuum pulls in. In a fraction of a second, the prey is trapped. Once inside, the animal can’t escape, and will be slowly eaten by the hungry plant!