Everyone has heard the stories, or maybe even seen footage of it. An unsuspecting fly goes off looking for some sweet nectar to get its grubby little feelers on. The fly spots the source of some juicy nectar and lands to feast upon it. The fly lands in the source of the nectar and starts feasting, all of a sudden the walls of a Venus Flytrap close around the fly, and it feasts no more. Some people may look at that and ask if such a plant actually exists and works, in short the answer to their question is yes they do. The much more interesting question, is why and how do these amazing plants work?
The name Venus Flytrap itself is a bit of a misnomer, Flytraps do not just eat flies, they eat a variety of insects including spiders, caterpillars and flies. There is a specific reason for these carnivorous plants though, and it actually has to do more with their geography than anything else. Because Venus Flytraps are found in such a specific region, along the Carolina coast, and even there are limited to marsh and bog areas, they have to be carnivorous just to survive. This is because the bogs and marshes the Flytrap resides in are extremely limited in the nutrients plants require to survive, though the Flytrap does participate in photosynthesis, it uses nutrients within the insects and arachnids to keep itself alive.
The way the Flytrap works is actually quite simple, the Flytrap simply opens itself up, then secretes a chemical that attracts insects to it. The Flytrap uses an advanced trigger mechanism, in that if two of its hairs are touched within twenty seconds it will immediately close, trapping anything within. This trigger mechanism is so advanced that it allows the Flytrap to let small creatures escape, and can tell if the Flytrap’s prey is living or not. Once within the Flytrap, if an insect is not small enough to escape, the Flytrap waits for it to starting moving around. Once the prey has done this, the Flytrap then turns into something of a makeshift stomach. The plant traps the insect, and then starts secreting an enzyme that starts to dissolve the prey. After about ten days of digesting its prey, the Flytrap opens up again, leaving almost none of the creature it took in. Faced with these facts, it can safely be concluded that the Venus Flytrap really does work, and quite well at that.