for food will never be
the same again with
Animals and plants
evolved through generations to survive in the natural environment that
they are in. Unlike animals that have the ability to move freely, plants
are restricted in their movement. In places where food is scarce, some
plants "evolved" into carnivorous plants to exploit available resources.
Carnivorous plants are those that have the ability to trap insects,
digest their tissues and absorb the nutrients in the process. One such
plant that can he found in Sungei Buloh Nature Park is the Slender
Pitcher Plant (Nepenthes gracilis), a climber that
grows on land. Nepenthes is derived from Greek, meaning the wine
cup of Helen of Troy, referring to the jar at the tip of a modified
leaf while gracilis means slender.
Insects are attracted to the sugary secretions or nectar produced by
the glands or nectaries. Usually the nectaries are located at the lid
or at the lip of the jar. Once an insect loses its foothold and drops
into the pitfall, it is trapped. It will struggle to climb out of the
pitcher plant. However, the inner wall of the jar is covered with loose
scales of wax and is very slippery. Eventually, it dies by drowning
due to exhaustion. The plant will then absorb the nutrients released
by the decomposed body.
interesting carnivorous plant is the Common
Yellow Bladderwort (Utricularia bifida L.). Utricularia
in Latin means a little bag, probably referring to the little trap bags
that the plant develops. The transparent bladder trap is equipped with
a trap door and stiff trigger hairs.
When a small prey such as a protozoa or small insect larvae touches
the trigger hair, it activates the door to contort and open for water
to be sucked in with the prey. Digestive juices are then secreted and
the prey is broken down.
on to the true predators of the Park, the Archer
Fish is one with a very unique way of catching its prey.
It feeds on insects that can be found on the water surface as well as
those that are flying or perching close to the water surface. It can
shoot a powerful jet of water at an insect, and knock it off its perch.
The Archer Fish forms a narrow tube in its mouth by pressing its tongue
against a groove along the top of its mouth. It then snaps its gill
covers shut, shooting a jet of water out of its mouth and through the
air to hit its target. An adult can bit its prey up to about 1.5 meters
above the water surface. However, it seems that the younger Archer Fish
often misses! There goes the saying practice makes perfect.
the quiet and serene mudflat, another harmless-looking but deadly shellfish
lurks around finding its way to its next victim. The Drill
(Thais gradata) will move ever so slowly towards its
victim, either barnacles or shellfish, sit on them and drill a hole
into the hard surface of its victim using its proboscis which is actually
a boring organ under their foot. The organ produces a carbonic acid
that will soften the shell of its prey. Being a slow-moving animal,
the Drill eventually gets its food only after several hours of drilling.
It inserts its proboscis into the hole and consumes its hard-earned
So do visit the Park as life is definitely exciting here with so much
action-packed activities going on.