By AFOP, 28-Sep-2012 08:48:00
By AFOP, September 28th 2012
A new study has revealed that a carnivorous plant, native to eastern Australia, uses snapping tentacles to catapult prey into sticky glue-like traps. Carnivorous sundew plants, scientific name Drosera glanduligera, live at ground level and catch small insects such as fruit flies using the catapult snapping technique, which almost always never fails to kill prey.
Researchers from the University of Freiburg in Germany, lead by Professor Thomas Speck, cultivated 7 sundew plants from seeds in a greenhouse experiment to test the ability of the plants snap-tentacles. Recording the experiment on video, researchers examined the plants capabilities with fruit flies and found that these were a preferred prey compared with house flies. The researchers discovered that the plant had two types of tentacles; one type of non-sticky peripheral tentacles which act as catapults and one type of glue-tentacles which draw prey down into the concave leaf where the food is later absorbed.
The findings suggest that the plant has adapted to survive to deal with constant hunger, experienced living so low to the ground. The fast-growing plant, which lives for just one year, requires a lot of nutrients in order to grow and as a result, constantly needs to be catching prey. By evolving to have catapult abilities, the plant can thrive in the unchanging environments of eastern Australia. With relatively small changes in the natural environment of eastern Australia, the plant has not had to worry about being affected by unpredictable climate changes or environmental shifts.
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