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Photo of a hoverfly trapped by a Cape sundew

Photo of a hoverfly trapped by a Cape sundew

B610/0133

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Credit

DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Macrophotograph of a hoverfly, Syrphus ribesii, trapped by the carnivorous plant Drosera capensis (Cape sundew). Drosera is commonly found throughout the British Isles. It owes its popular name to the drops of sticky fluid, secreted by the tentacles on the leaves, which glisten in the sun like dew. Insects are attracted by the leaves & get caught in the sticky tentacles. The struggling insect stimulates the hairs to bend over; when it dies the tentacles secrete a digestive juice that breaks down the soft parts of its body. Drosera usually grows in bogs & lives on wet acid soils. Mineral nutrients are derived from the insects as the plant has a poorly developed root system.

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