SOTW - Close your mouth, you'll catch flies (Dionaea muscipula)

Greeting everybody,

You guys might be thinking, woah! What is SOTW? What happened to AOTW? Don’t panic! We’ve decided to change the 'animal of the week' to 'species of the week' as it would allow us to appreciate not only animals, but plants, bacteria and other organisms.

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This week our featured species is Dionaea Muscipula (Venus Flytrap), probably the most famous of all the carnivorous plants. It is found only in the wet pine savannas in North and South Carolina of United States.

The Venus flytrap is a relatively small plant which looks like a rosette, but the leaf blade consist of two parts: 
1. a broad petiole - the “footstalk”, and 
2. a pair of terminal lobes which serves as the trap - held together by the midrib. 
The inner surface of each lobe consists of three “trigger hairs”, which act as mechanosensors.

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Mechanosensors are things that respond to changes in mechanical force. When an insect brushes against a hair, the bending hair triggers a tiny electrical charge, and a second hair brush is needed within an interval of 0.75 to 40 seconds and SNAP! The insect then is liquified by the digestive enzymes excreted by the plant and further absorbed.

This plant is classified as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red list, however there are between 3-6 million plants in cultivation alone. The fascinating features of the plant are admired by humans which have lead to illegal collection of large quantities of the plant.

Hope you enjoyed our first official SOTW. Let us know what species fascinate you? Leave a comment below to ensure a species of your choice is in the next species of the week.


Over and out.

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