What Plant “Fishes” for Food?

A tiny fungus that scientists call Zoophagus insidians has a most unusual way of catching the microscopic animals that form its diet.

This fungus, which lives in the water, has short branches, called hyphae, along its main stem. When tiny water animals, called rotifers, bite into these hyphae, the rotifers swell up inside the fungus’s body and cannot escape.

The rotifer is “hooked” on the hyphae, like a fish snared on a line. The fungus then throws a “net” of sticky liquid over its prey and begins to digest the captured rotifer!