How a Bladderwort traps its prey
Underwater peril - Along slender stems, small pods pump water out through their walls. This creates a vacuum inside: Each pod is spring-loaded and ready for action!
On the alert – Pods wait on a hair-trigger. Long antennae sway gently in the water … detecting vibrations from prey swimming nearby they instantly activate the trap.
High-speed strike – in under a millisecond a trapdoor opens, the prey is sucked in, and SNAP! — the door shuts. The stunned victim dies of anoxia and is digested.
Prey and habitat
Bladderwort prey includes insect larvae, worms, fish hatchlings, crustaceans and zooplankton.
They are found in waterlogged soil, fresh-water lagoons and streams in Australia, Asia and the Americas. Some grow high in trees — in wet moss, on bark, or in the water-tanks of bromeliads.
Activities - Suction traps
1. Getting creative
Use plastic squeeze bottles, such as sauce bottles, to replicate the suctioning action of a bladderwort trap. Use it in a tub of water to suck up small items such as grains of rice.
2. Scientific drawing
Use the photograph to draw a diagram of the features of a Bladderwort. Include a mosquito larvae in a suction pod. Use labels and annotations to describe the suction trap function of Bladderworts.