Swift predators are common in the animal world but are rare in the plant kingdom. New research shows that Drosera glanduligera, a small sundew from southern Australia, deploys one of the fastest and most spectacular trapping mechanisms known among carnivorous plants.
The study, published Sep. 26 in the open access journal PLOS ONE, is a collaboration between the Plant Biomechanics Group at the University of Freiburg and private sundew cultivators from Weil am Rhein, and provides the first experimental demonstration of fast-moving snap tentacles in sundew plants propelling prey into the plant's leaf trap, where they are captured and digested. The authors also provide a biophysical explanation for the quick motion of these touch-sensitive tentacles.
Glue-covered tentacles and leaf traps in sundew species work like flypaper to trap insects, but this is the first study to show how fast-acting 'snap' tentacles are involved in prey capture. The researchers found that insects walking on the snap tentacles trigger a touch-sensitive catapult action, propelling prey onto the nearby glue tentacles. Glue tentacles then gradually move the prey down to the leaf trap for digestion and assimilation.
"Such plants are of particular interest to plant biologists because of their sophisticated and complex structural and mechanical adaptations to carnivory", says Thomas Speck, lead author on the study.
Public Library of Science: http://www.plos.org
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
But adding small amounts of land to already protected areas could help save the island's biodiversity
The disease which has killed more than 8,000 people in the past year may be the number one threat to great apes in Africa
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board is warning that "the probability of global catastrophe is very high" unless quick action is taken.
Gregory Asner has loaded a plane with lasers, spectrometers and computers to create models so detailed, they distinguish between and count plant species in even the densest biomes, like the Amazon.
The smallest critters who occupy the bottom of the cold, clear waters of Lake Tahoe are dying off at an alarming rate and scientists are trying to find the cause to protect the fragile ecosystem of the lake high in the Sierra Nevada range.
In Russia’s Far East, an orphaned female tiger is the test case in an experimental effort to save one of the most endangered animals on earth
But look out for hazel catkins turning plump with pollen Continue reading...
Senators accept global warming is not a hoax but fail to recognise human activity is to blame, nearly 27 years after scientists laid out man’s role
United States Senators stood up for what they believed in today—and it wasn’t pretty.
China is about to announce the findings of its latest giant panda “National Survey”, a once-a-decade census that aims to put a figure on the number of giant pandas left in the wild. Will the figure be accurate?