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Venus flytraps don’t eat insects that pollinate them

by Matt Shipman, NC State University

While most people are familiar with Venus flytraps and their snapping jaws, there is still a lot that scientists don’t know about the biology of these carnivorous plants. Researchers have for the first time discovered which insects pollinate the rare plants in their native habitat – and discovered that the flytraps don’t dine on these pollinator species.

Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) are in a genus all their own, and are native to a relatively small area, restricted to within a 100-mile radius of Wilmington, N.C. Continue reading

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