The predator plant traps and eats its pray by counting
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Some plants are hardly common having unusual characteristics and according to scientists the Venus flytrap counts to five and eats it all.
The Venus flytrap is probably one of the most interesting plants in the world and has intrigued scientists for a long time now. The plant or flower, as some may call it, acts as a predator, by luring its prey, usually flies or even lizards, trapping them and then eating them.
How can a simple flower do all of the above? It’s quite simple, actually – it counts. The first part, luring the prey is actually not that uncommon. Flowers are in general very colorful and attract many insects looking for pollen. But what comes next is out of the ordinary. From the moment the prey touches the predator, the latter starts counting.
One. At the first touch nothing happens except the Venus flytrap senses its prey.
Two. At the second touch, the trap starts closing around the prey.
Three. At this point, the trap closes and catches the prey inside
Four. At this point, the predator prepares itself for digestion by producing a hormone associated with the process of feeding.
Five. And finally, glands on the trap produce some digestive enzymes which eventually digest the victim.
Why does the flower “count” and not just swallow their prey from number one? It seems that the counting process can help the plant understand it the meal is worth it or not. It receives information on how big the prey is and what nutrients could the plant gain from eating them.
Now, for the pray not to get eaten in case they get caught, it should be completely still. Obviously, each move of the prey triggers one of the numbers we’ve already mentioned, so the more the prey moves, the sooner it gets eaten. Of course flies or lizards and any other small creatures interested in flowers will become very anxious and will start flapping their wings once they feel they are in danger.
It’s easier to believe animals are smart or have feelings, but when it comes to plants, some of them are truly amazing. Thankfully, the Venus flytrap is not large enough to eat us. However, if you want to approach one you still have to be very careful and don’t make sudden movements.
Image source: www.bing.com