What are the predators of plant kingdom?

These are plants with many tricks up their sleeve. These are plants that consume meat. In short, these are called carnivorous plants. They lure unsuspecting prey into their traps. They indulge in carnivorous behaviour to obtain much-needed nutrients that are not found in the soil. Insects, spiders, lizards, mice, rats, and other small vertebrates become their prey. Let's take a look at some of these meat eaters.

VENUS FLYTRAP

Here we have hinged traps built into each leaf of the plant. These hinged lobes have spiny tooth-like structures attached to them. There are hair-like projections called trichomes in the insides of the lobe and if a prey were to get into contact with these hairy structures, snap shut the lobes and the prey has been caught! The tooth-like structures that edge the lobes ensure that the prey cannot get out of the trap.

NEPENTHES RAJAH

The Nepenthes rajah is the largest carnivorous plant in the world. Its trap can grow up to 41 centimetres tall. Vertebrates and small mammals have fallen prey to this genus of camivorous pitcher plant. This plant is endemic to Borneo. Insects get attracted by the odour of the nectar and once inside the pitcher, they cannot escape as they fail to get a grip on the sticky walls of the pitcher. They then fall into the water in the pitcher and as they struggle, the digestive glands get stimulated and digestive acids are released. The Nepenthes rajah can even digest mice!

PITCHER PLANT

For the pitcher plant, its pitcher-shaped leaves form the trap. These pitfall traps are filled with digestive juices. The animals are lured by the nectar. The rims of the pitcher are slippery and the prey falls in and drowns in the digestive fluids. They are often seen growing in a range of habitats viz. from pine barrens to sandy coastal swamps. They normally grow in poor soil conditions and it is through their carnivorous behaviour that they get the much-needed nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.

COBRA LILY

With its hooded pitcher-like leaves, this pitcher plant resembles a cobra. Even the purple-red appendages that the plant has resembles a set of fangs. The nectar glands attract insects and small animals to the mouth of the pitcher. The large tubular leaves of the plant trap water. This is the only species of its genus that do not produce its own digestive enzymes. Rather, it depends on bacteria to break down its prey. Once inside, there is no escape. The slippery walls and the downward-pointing hairs ensure this and the prey falls into the fluid at the bottom of the pitcher. The prey gets decomposed by microorganisms in the fluid. The plant is native to swamps in the mountainous regions of the USA.

BUTTERWORT

Butterwort is a carnivorous flowering plant that uses its sticky leaves to lure in insects and eventually trap and digest them. This plant releases its enzymes for digesting the prey whilst it holds the prey in its place with its sticky mucous.

Picture Credit : Google 

What color is lobster blood inside the lobster?

Vertebrates have red blood. The colour comes from a molecule called haemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells. Haemoglobin carries oxygen around the body and it uses iron atoms to hold the oxygen and then release it.

Some invertebrates use a molecule called haemocyanin to carry oxygen around their bodies using copper atoms instead of iron. Snails, lobsters and spiders actually have blue blood (properly called haemolymph). The colour comes from the copper atoms in the haemocyanin molecule, which is blue when it is carrying an oxygen atom. It is dissolved directly into their ‘blood’ instead of being enclosed in blood cells.

Haemocyanin, like haemoglobin and chlorophyll in green plants, is a metalloprotein. This is a protein that contains metal atoms. Nature has plenty of examples of metalloproteins. In fact, plant and animal life forms have evolved with a basic need for metals.

A haemocyanin molecule contains two copper atoms that bind a single oxygen molecule (O2) and then release it where it is needed. Haemocyanin is a bluish purple colour when it is carrying an oxygen molecule as seen here beneath the carapace of a Cancer productus crab. Once haemocyanin releases its oxygen, it is colourless.

Credit : Copper Development Association

Picture Credit : Google

Where do leatherback sea turtles lay their eggs?

The leatherback sea turtle is the largest turtle in the world. They are the only species of sea turtle that lack scales and a hard shell. They are named for their tough rubbery skin and have existed in their current form since the age of the dinosaurs. Leatherbacks are highly migratory, some swimming over 10,000 miles a year between nesting and foraging grounds. They are also accomplished divers with the deepest recorded dive reaching nearly 4,000 feet—deeper than most marine mammals.

The leatherback turtle has the widest global distribution of any reptile, with nesting mainly on tropical or subtropical beaches. Once prevalent in every ocean except the Arctic and Antarctic, the leatherback population is rapidly declining in many parts of the world. They face threats on both nesting beaches and in the marine environment. The greatest of these threats worldwide are incidental capture in fishing gear (bycatch), hunting of turtles, and collection of eggs for human consumption. The Pacific leatherback turtle populations are most at-risk of extinction. Pacific leatherbacks are one of nine ESA-listed species identified in NOAA’s Species in the Spotlight initiative. Through this initiative, NOAA Fisheries has made it a priority to focus recovery efforts on stabilizing and recovering Pacific leatherback populations in order to prevent their extinction.

Credit : NOAA Fisheries 

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What is the world's largest rodent?

The capybara is twice that big—the biggest rodent on Earth. These impressive semi-aquatic mammals are found throughout much of northern and central South America, though a small invasive population has been seen in Florida.

Like other rodents, capybaras’ teeth grow continuously, and they wear them down by grazing on aquatic plants, grasses, and other plentiful plants.

They also eat their own feces in the morning. That’s when their poo is protein rich from the high number of microbes digesting the previous day’s meals. Because the grasses they eat are so hard to digest, eating their waste essentially allows them to digest it twice.

Capybaras don’t mind being alone, but they also live in groups of up to 40. Their breeding season varies throughout the year depending on what habitat they live in and the availability of mates. Females usually have one litter of four to five young per year.

Though considered to have a stable population overall, in some areas capybaras are severely threatened by people who hunt them for their skin, and some local populations have been wiped out.

Credit : National Geographic

Picture Credit : Google

Where do wild African lions live?

Powerful and majestic, the king of the beasts has no natural predators. But unthinkably, African lion numbers have plummeted by over 40% in the last three generations, due to loss of living space and con?ict with people.

Lions are the most sociable of all big cats. They live in groups called prides, which usually consist of related females and their cubs. Dominant males, with their flowing manes (a sign of virility), fight to maintain breeding rights.

Three-quarters of African lion populations are in decline. With only around 20,000 in the wild, they’re now officially classified as ‘vulnerable’.

African lions used to be spread across most of the continent, but now are only found in sub-Saharan Africa, with 80% in eastern or southern Africa. Three of the five largest populations are in Tanzania. Lions have disappeared from 12 sub-Saharan countries in recent decades.

Lions are top predators in their environment, whether that’s grasslands, desert or open woodland. It means they play a crucial role in keeping a healthy balance of numbers among other animals, especially herbivores like zebra and wildebeest – which in turn influences the condition of grasslands and forests.

By protecting a lion’s landscape, we’re helping the whole area to thrive, which doesn’t just benefit wildlife but the people who rely on local natural resources too.

Credit : WWF

Picture Credit : Google