Bladderwort Traps

Underwater bladderwort plant traps lie in wait for small pond creatures, which are caught so the plant can gain nutrients missing in its environment. The image shows a Utricularia intermedia trap with small aquatic crustaceans it has caught. A copepod rests inside the trap and a water-flea (Daphnia) is caught in the trap-door.

Using a 3-dimensional imaging technique called Optical Projection Tomography it is possible to look inside these traps and observe internal details of captured prey. The movie shows a 3-D reconstruction of a Utricularia australis bladderwort trap scanned with Optical Projection Tomography. This greedy plant has captured three copepods, which will be digested to provide nutrients for the plant.

More information about bladderworts can be found on our Inner Worlds of Carnivorous Plants pages.