Despite their name, and the fact that they look like something from another planet, wild Venus fly traps (Dionaea muscipula) are actually only found in the wetlands that lie within a hundred-mile radius of Wilmington, North Carolina, Planet Earth.
And another thing - they don’t just eat flies. As long as its prey is roughly the right size, and touches two of its hairs within twenty seconds, then the carnivorous plant’s jaw-like leaves will snap shut on any insect or spider that comes its way.
If the meal is too small and is able to escape then the leaf opens up again within a few hours. But if dinner continues to struggle, the lobes close even further until the outer edges have sealed to form something akin to a stomach. Here, glands in the lobes secrete enzymes that break the dinner down into a fluid that the flytrap can then digest.
Ten days after dining on the soup in their fly, the trap pops open to reveal nothing but a dried out husk. Despite the poor soil beneath it, the plant has just obtained all the nitrogen it needs.
As it can take two to three weeks for a new leaf to develop into a fully-formed trap, cameraman Tim Shepherd used time-lapse photography to bring the sequence to life. But there is nothing speeded up about the traps shutting on their prey. That takes just a fraction of a second.
From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by .