Wednesday, 18 January 2012 By: Jenny Vu

#4 One Irresistable Trap

We all know about the Venus Fly Trap. If an insect flies into it, it's a goner. But, do you actually know how the trap works?


Silhouette of a Bee Source: animalseatinganimals
Even if a fly has a lightning fast reaction - 20 milliseconds from the moment it registers movement to take-off - it can still fall victim to this even faster plant. Venus flytraps live in waterlogged and acidic soil where nitrogen is hard to get. Therefore, it needs to adapt to find another way to get this nitrogen and this is where the trap becomes handy. The trap is actually an extension of it's leaves.


Inside these traps are small trigger hairs which react to movement. On the edge of the traps is nectar. This attracts insects, especially flies, to sit inside the traps in order to lick the nectar on the sides. As the fly walks around, he will touch a few of the hairs, setting off the trap. If the bug inside is to small, the trap leaves it's jaws slightly open, allowing the bit size bug to escape.

Source: botany.org
As the trap starts to close, the more the fly struggles, the tighter the trap closes as it knows it's victim is a yummy size, which is unlucky for this frog. No matter how much an insect or anything that falls into the trap may struggle, there is no escape.

Source: animalseatinganimals
After the trap closes, the plant starts to secrete enzymes which digests the fly. The fly is literally sucked dry of it's body fluids and when the plant is done drinking, the trap is reset, and the dry empty body of the fly is spat out. (Wow, a 'spitting' plant).

Watch this great video from a documentary by my favourite guy David Attenborough. The video is straight from the BBC Youtube channel and has AMAZING qaulity. Great footage as well with very clear close ups on the fly and the flytrap. Enjoy!


                  




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