Venus Fly Traps| How do Venus Fly Traps Eat Flies?

venus traps

How do Venus Fly traps eat flies? – Not all plants in our environment were meant to do only one job, i.e., Photosynthesis. As time passed, humans, animals, and plants evolved to do different jobs from what they did before. This evolution included plants doing odd changes, like water storage, defense, and support structure. But there was one plant that took the plant evolution to the next level, Venus Flytrap, which attracts its prey, then traps it to digest and absorb the bug for its nutrients. Yes, only by using a pair of leaves. Keep reading to find out how venus fly traps eat flies. 

Venus Flytraps| How do Venus Fly traps work?

 A Venus Flytrap can and will eat anything that fits right into its leafy trap. They are usually seen eating bugs, beetles, insects, and spiders. And not just food; they close their traps as an act of defense that includes toads and human fingers. However, there have been no reported human casualties by Venus Flytraps.  

The Venus flytrap works very smartly by opening up the traps to lure potential prey. Their trap has a bright red color and works as bait for the bugs and also secretes a sugary syrup that makes the prey stay in the trap for a long time until they close it.

There is very interesting science behind their trap mechanism. They have the turgor pressure of the cells to pull off the trapping cycle correctly. For instance, think of a balloon filled with water; it is tight and rigid, and when the water is drained out, it becomes saggy and soft. This same phenomenon happens to plants; if the water from their cells is drained, they tend to lose their shine and strength. 

A Venus flytrap uses this same technique, as when it senses a prey in the trap or nearby, it then shifts the intra-cellular water to the outer part of the trap that, makes it more hard and rigid which also makes the inside of the plant soft and saggy with low turgor pressure. And through this technique, it can easily and quickly shut the trap door.

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Venus Flytraps: Do they have the ability to count?

As if one of their smart ability to trap insects wasn’t enough, A Venus Flytrap can count and send signals through its hair. Inside the trap, one can see small and long hair on each side of the trap that points toward the inside. They work like a trigger that sets off a motion for the plant. They work like a switch and work by the counts. If you touch the hair once, nothing happens; if you do it twice, the trap starts to close. They have this sense to not set off the trap under a false alarm, like rain drops or dirt particles from the blowing wind. 

How do Venus Fly traps eat flies?

After the trap door has shut down with the prey inside, the bugs act disorderly, and this sudden movement of struggle sets off the triggers in the hair that, and due to their ability to count and detect, if the trigger is set off more than five times the trap then turns into an empty stomach. Once this happens, all the edges of the traps are sealed shut airtight, and digestion takes place when it starts secreting the digestive enzymes to break down the nutrients. 

Venus Flytraps| Aftermath of catching a bug and their Life cycle|

If the bug is smart and lucky and doesn’t set off any more triggers after being caught in the trap, the trap may open within 24 hours, mistaking the prey as a false alarm. However, there is little chance of that happening as bugs or insects are not smart. 

Furthermore, a Venus flytrap has only a limited number of times it can open and close the trap, if it’s the case of a false alarm, it can only do it ten times in its entire lifespan, and when it comes to hunting, can only digest insects only 3 to 5 times.
After they have drained their ability to hunt and eat insects, they work like a usual plant that is only good for photosynthesis. 

Venus Flytraps| Reason why venus fly traps eat flies|

The main reason for the Venus flytrap plant to resort to hunting live bugs and insects is the need for nitrogen. Since they don’t easily get nitrogen from the boggy and acidic soil, they hunt and get their need for nitrogen fulfilled from the protein in bugs rather than getting it from the soil.

According to several reports, the population of Venus Flytraps is constantly shrinking due to constant human interference in the wildlife and poaching of such exotic plants. But it is highly unlikely this plant will go extinct since it has an easy home cultivation process. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. How does Venus Fly trap work?
    The Venus flytrap works by laying a trap to catch its prey and closing the trap once the prey rests on it.
  2. What do Venus Fly raps eat?
    A Venus Flytrap will eat a thing that fits its trap. From bugs, insects, flies, beetles, and spiders, they will digest anything that falls prey to their trap.
  3. How long do they live?
    The Venus flytrap has the lifespan as that of a general tree. Still, it can only use it traps to open or close ten times as a false alarm indication and can only eat food and digest in 3 to 5 times and then continue to live like a regular leaf on a tree.

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