Have you ever gotten to watch a plant that can move fast, and eat fresh meat? Yes, you’re reading that right – a plant, that moves and eats meat! We’re talking about the most famous plant in the world of the carnivorous species.
Known as the Venus Flytrap, this special plant can hunt and eat meat by using a unique system which helps it attract, kill, digest, and absorb insects and other arthropods.
Native to a small area of coastal North Carolina, the Venus flytrap uses its leaves to trap its prey. The interior of Venus flytrap leaves can be red, yellow, or green, with long teeth and nectar glands along the edges. It lives in bogs with nutrient-poor soil, so the nourishment from digesting insects helps the plant grow and flower.
How Traps Work
Insects are usually attracted by a sweet-smelling nectar secreted on the plant’s steel-trap-shaped leaves. When landing on the leaf in search of a reward, unsuspecting prey instead activates slender trigger hairs inside the trap. When two or more hairs are touched, the trap partially closes on the insect in less than a second, waiting for it to struggle to finish the operation with a complete trap closing – imprisoning the prey behind its interlocking teeth.
How the Venus Flytrap digests its prey
Once the trap closes, the digestive glands on the inner leaf surface secrete fluids that can dissolve the soft tissues of the prey, kill bacteria and fungi, and break down the insect with enzymes to extract the essential nutrients. These nutrients are then absorbed into the leaf, and after a few days the leaves reopen, revealing only the insect’s exoskeleton, which blows or washes away.
One of the most interesting facts about this special plant is that despite not having a brain to identify and analyze what it’s eating, the Venus Flytrap still manages to differentiate between insects, and non-edible debris based on the insect’s movement.
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