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Carnivorous Pitcher Plant Eating Bugs

Yesterday I was looking for a garden photo and while I didn't find that photo I did find these photos of a carnivorous pitcher plant from two years ago. I think I may have been waiting for a slowdown in garden blogging to share the pictures of the carnivorous pitcher plant and never got around to sharing them.

The photos were taken over a course of a few days and show insects being lured and trapped inside separate pitchers of the carnivorous plant. Lets take a short tour of the carnivorous plant and see the insects that fell prey to it.

Carnivorous Pitcher Plant pitcher opening

First we have the opening of the pitcher plant. Notice the hairs growing around the opening to keep trapped insects inside. You can just spot our first insect victim laying in the bottom of the pitcher in this photo.

Carnivorous Pitcher Plant eating flyWhen I focused on the inside of the pitcher the first victim came into focus. It is a fly. It looks like the pitfall trap is dry and the fly didn't drown in the phytotelmata, perhaps it died of exhaustion. Without the water inside the pitcher plant we can see how smooth the inside is, this keeps insects from being able to climb out once they've been lured inside the carnivorous plant.

 Carnivourous Pitcher Plant eating two flies and an antThe cavity of this pitcher is filled with liquid and we can see at least three victims, two flies and an ant that have drowned inside. There may be a third insect in there too, if you look below the ant you'll see an extra pair of wings, that has been being digested by the carnivorous plant for a while.
Carnivorous Pitcher Plant eating Yellow JacketThe final photo shows a yellow jacket that made its way inside and like the others fell victim to our pitcher plant and became a meal. The dark spots floating in the liquid are two separate flies that also made it in but never got out. I remember being amazed that these two flies about the size of the tip of a pencil couldn't get past the trap hairs shown above.

Related Posts:

Natural Methods of Pest Control

Why is my Venus Flytrap Dying?


  1. These are absolutely amazing shots, Mr BT! I love the clarity you got with the exhausted fly. Can the pitcher plant digest everything (all parts of the insect)?

  2. Hi BT! What amazing photos!!! Carnivorous plants are just the coolest, ever! Thanks for sharing these!!!

  3. @NikkiPolani,

    All parts of the insect look they like they turned into a bug slurry like consistency. Never saw any of parts left behind.


    Glad you liked them. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. Very cool! How do you care for your pitcher plant? I'd love to try but I'm terrible at keeping containers watered.

  5. @OhioMom,

    Thanks for stopping by.


    It was in a tiny little pot when I bought it and had trouble keeping it watered. So I inserted it into a pot that was larger (no drainage holes)that I filled with coco coir. I watered the larger pot filled with coco coir and it kept the smaller pitcher plant moist.

    That's how I handled it in the summer because it was impossible to keep watered. In the winter I pulled it out and brought it in and kept it cool and moist.

  6. So cool! Thanks for sharing!

  7. I have one carnivorous plant. It is sarracenia also. I didn't realise it could kill such a big insect till I saw these photos. So far I have seen small ants only ;-) Btw, I read your comment on how to care for this pitcher plant. The method would be useful for me when I go on holiday. TQ and enjoy the weekend!

  8. This post was awesome! The pictures are just incredible with their detail. Amazing- thanks for sharing this!

  9. Wow, I think this is the first time I've ever seen a pitcher plant get down to business. Cool photos!

  10. @Anna Thanks for visiting.

    @Stephanie Nice to meet another carnivorous plant lover and glad you found something useful in the post.

    @Dee Thanks for the compliments and thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    @Entangled Thanks

    @Garden Girl Thanks

  11. Everytime I take to the local bike trail, I look for the pitcher plants and hope to find them still in place. I guess people are tempted to pull them out and try growing them at home (instead of buying them!). They are getting harder to find in the wild here in FL because of the thievery, loss of habitat (development) and fire control. Yes, the wildfires actually help them thrive. Interesting pics, MBT.

  12. That was the coolest thing ever. Nature is amazing!

  13. To add to that - I think I'll trade my cats for a few of these plants (they seem better at catching bugs!)

  14. Walk2Write,

    That's interesting. Did no know that wildfire helped them thrive. Thanks for the comment, learned something new.


    LOL. That's funny. Our puppies are becoming expert butterfly catchers around here.

  15. Incredible shots indeed, MBT! I love that you took the time to set these up and share them with us. Pitcher plants are a favourite of mine, and the provincial flower of Newfoundland and Labrador, where I was born.

  16. ohh so creepy, yet so cool(: great photos!

  17. Thanks for sharing the information on carnivorous pitcher plant eating bugs. Your information was quite helpful. Keep it up the good work. Cheers :)

  18. @Jodie, Thanks for visiting and letting me know they are the provincial flower of Newfoundland. I so did not know that.

    @Songbirdd Glad you liked them even if they are on the creepy side.

    @Flowers thanks for leaving a comment.

  19. These are amazing photos....especially the irridessant colour of that fly...I tried to keep a venus fly trap once but failed miserably!!.xx

  20. Rarely does death look so beautiful. Very nice shots!

  21. These are a few of the most incredible shots I have ever seen. Thank you for taking these photos!

  22. @kay, @Les and @Outsiderider

    Thank you for the compliments on the photos and for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it.



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