Difference between Insectivorous and Symbiotic plants

Insectivorous Plants

They are carnivorous plants that derive nutrition from protozoans or animals. They typically trap and consume the insects. The pitcher plants use their folded leaves to trap insects. The leaf folds have several digestive enzymes. Flytrap is another carnivorous plant that secretes mucilage to trap organisms. Thus, they depend on other organisms for nutrition and are partially parasitic.

Extended Reading: Insectivorous plants

Symbiotic Plants

Symbiosis is a type of biological association between two different organisms. The association can be mutualistic, parasitic or commensalistic.

  • Mutualism – Interaction that results in the benefit of all the species involved. E.g., Lichens.
  • Commensalism – Interaction where only one is benefitted. The other species is neither harmed nor benefitted. E.g., Epiphytic plants like Orchids.
  • Parasitism – Interaction where one is benefitted at the cost of another species. E.g., Cuscuta.

Difference between Insectivorous and Symbiotic plants

Insectivorous Plants

Symbiotic Plants

They capture insects with the help of traps and finally feed on them.

They associate with other organisms for food.

It is partially parasitic.

It could be mutualism, parasitisms or commensalism.

Examples – Pitcher plant, Venus flytrap, Sundew, etc.

Examples – Cuscuta, Mycorrhiza, Lichens, etc.

Also see about : Lichens

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Insectivorous and Symbiotic plants


What is commensalism?

Commensalism is an interaction where only one species is benefitted. Also, the other one is not affected by any means. This type of relationship is usually seen in the epiphytes. The epiphytes usually look for structural support from their host. They do not harm them, by any means. Example – Orchids growing on a host tree.


What are lichens?

Lichens are a symbiotic interaction between algae and fungus. It is a type of mutual interaction where the fungus gives structural support, and the algae provide nutritional support. Thus, both organisms are benefitted from this mutualistic relationship. Here, the fungal part is called mycobiont and the non-fungal part is called photobiont.


Why are insectivorous plants called partial parasites?

Insectivorous plants have chlorophyll and can carry out photosynthesis. But they do not usually get minerals or nitrogen from the soil. They trap organisms to compensate for the lack of minerals in the soil. Also, they are not completely dependent on a host plant for nutrition. Thus, the name partial parasites.

Also Read: Nutrition in Plants

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  1. It’s very nice to learn here ..