Why are some plants insectivorous, or carnivorous?

Sunlight, water and air constitute the main diet of the vegetation. Using the energy absorbed from the sunlight it converts it into carbohydrates (starch and glucose), protein and also fat by means of the chemical process known as photosynthesis.

In other words the vegetation converts the sunlight, water and air into chemical energy and this process takes place directly at the level of cells, the basic biological units, without the need of digestive system of any kind. However, sunlight, water and air alone do not constitute the complete ‘diet’ of the vegetation. It also needs minerals like nitrogen, calcium, phosphate and iron for nourishment. Nitrogen is required for the manufacture of protein and calcium for the strong cell membrane. Phosphates build up nucleic acid or the genetic material in the cells whereas iron is essential for chlorophyll or the green pigments in the leaves that absorb sunlight for photosynthesis. The vegetation absorbs these mineral ingredients from the soil – and ideally, they must pre-exist in the soil in optimum quantities. It is not possible for the vegetation to flourish in the soil lacking these nutrients.

The existence of many species of insectivorous (carnivorous) plants is an obvious exception to the above wonderful order created by Nature in the course of evolution. Wherever the soil does not provide these indispensable mineral nutrients to the plants they make good the deficiency of soil by devouring insects such as ants, flies, moths, butterflies, grasshoppers, and even small frogs and lizards! Mainly it is the insects that fall prey to these plants.

More reading:
Insectivore (Wikipedia)
Carnivorous plant (Wikipedia)

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