Capture Enhancement in a Carnivorous Aquatic Plant: Function of Antennae and Bristles in Utricularia vulgaris

Science  09 Mar 1979:
Vol. 203, Issue 4384, pp. 1022-1025
DOI: 10.1126/science.203.4384.1022


Traps of the carnivorous hydrophyte Utricularia vulgaris Linnaeus (Lentibulariaceae) have structures termed antennae and bristles around their trapdoors that increase their rate of entrapment of the substrate-dwelling prey Chydorus sphaericus (Chydoridae, Crustacea). The kind and number of these structures are important in determining capture rate. Experimental data and corresponding behavioral observations support Darwin's hypothesis that antennae and bristles function as a "funnel" leading potential prey toward the trapdoor and their capture by offering the prey a favorable substrate that exploits their natural locomotor and feeding behavior.