IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Biology

The Venus flytrap, as its name suggests, is able to catch and digest insects. Insects are attracted to the small traps by the bright pigment and the nectar secreted by a row of glands situated just below the teeth of the trap (5). On the inner lobes there are usually three trigger hairs and if an insect lands on a lobe and brushes against two of these hairs within a short space of time, the trap with snap partially shut with a speed that amazes onlookers (5). It is believed that this phenomenon is achieved by the rapid acid growth of cells on the trap's outer surface (2) (6). The teeth are now interlocked, preventing larger prey from escaping but the trap must close further to produce a tight seal if the prey is to be digested (2). It is thought that this slower closing process is triggered by chemical and mechanical signals released by the struggling prey, and is accomplished by localised areas of cell growth, such as at the hinge (2). The teeth are now pointing outwards and the trap is sealed allowing digestion to begin using digestive juices released from glands within the inner trap wall; the process of digestion usually takes 7 to 10 days (2). The trap will then open and is able to begin the process again; a single trap will only undertake 3 - 4 such digestion processes, after which time it merely photosynthesises (2). The Venus flytrap is a perennial plant, which produces flowers from mid-May to the beginning of June; the method of pollination is not yet understood and whilst cross-pollination seems likely, self-pollination may also be possible (2). It is thought that seeds are dispersed in water, or by birds that accidentally pick up seeds in the muddy habitat (2).

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Source: ARKive

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