| 0 comments ] Posted by: [ Veerendher GP ]

In 1770, botanist John Ellis published the first description of 'a new sensitive plant,' called Dionaea muscipula, or Venus flytrap.

Its leaf snaps shut in about half a second when an insect is lured to its bright red surface. Spikes protruding from the edges of the leaf form a narrow cage for the insect. The leaf swells to close the gap and secretes a fluid that digests the insect in about ten days. Then the leaf grows a little and opens up, ready for the next visitor.

Now, the origin of the voracious Venus flytrap has been uncovered. The flytrap, and one other carnivorous snap-trap plant which grows underwater, evolved from a more conventional relative that had sticky leaves.

Over time, the plants added elaborate structures and weapons such as trigger hairs and teeth to trap and immobilise their meaty prey, botanists say. Ultimately, the need to hunt and eat ever larger animals drove the plants' evolution, say the scientists.

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