How Venus flytraps kill their prey

In LiveScience

by Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer

Unlike proactive predators in the animal kingdom, carnivorous plants like the Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) must wait for their insect prey to literally step inside their “jaws” before they can catch the victims. But these plants don’t instantly snap at the first tentative tap of a potential meal in their maws; instead, the plants count touches from their hapless prey to tailor a predatory response, an international team of scientists found.

The first tap from an insect tells a Venus flytrap, “Pay attention, but don’t respond just yet,” the new study said. A second tap means, “Probably food,” triggering the trap to close, and three more taps from a trapped insect signal, “Start digesting!” Continue reading