|Why does Venus fly trap matter to scientists?|
|Question Date: 2017-05-30|
Thank you for your question!
Venus fly traps are carnivorous plants that
fascinate non-scientists and scientists alike.
These plants live in nutrient-poor soils,
so as a survival tactic, they capture and ingest
arthropods (mostly ants and spiders!) to
supplement their nutritional needs. Since the
soils don't provide enough nutrients, this plant
takes advantage of the numerous insects crawling
around on the ground and the plant by capturing
bugs in the "mouth" of this plant, which is
actually a modification at the end of their
leaves. However, scientists don't fully understand
how they close their mouths shut, but hypothesize
a change in fluid pressure triggered by electrical
impulses on the tiny "hairs" in the "mouth".
Did you know the Venus fly trap is a flowering
plant? Beautiful! You can read more about this
interesting plant here:
Venus fly trap1
Venus fly trap2
Venus fly traps are plants. They show us a
few things about how evolution works, about how
soil chemistry works, and so on, but despite
being wonderful and amazing like all living
things, I'm not sure they are of any particular
importance above many other types of plants.
The Venus fly trap's 'jaws' move shut when an
insect lands in its 'mouth.' Lots of animals
do that, but the Venus fly trap may be the only
plant that does. It's like the Venus fly trap
has a muscle, but plants don't have muscles like
animals. I wonder what kinds of molecules in the
Venus fly trap make it shut on an insect.
Also, the Venus fly trap is a meat-eating
plant, because it eats insects, which are
animals. There are only a few meat-eating plants.
Do you suppose they have protein enzymes to
digest the meat that are like the enzymes that
digest the meat we eat? That's another
People tend to be interested in things that are
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