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PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45735. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045735. Epub 2012 Sep 26.

Catapulting tentacles in a sticky carnivorous plant.

Author information

  • 1Plant Biomechanics Group, University of Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. simon.poppinga@biologie.uni-freiburg.de

Abstract

Among trapping mechanisms in carnivorous plants, those termed 'active' have especially fascinated scientists since Charles Darwin's early works because trap movements are involved. Fast snap-trapping and suction of prey are two of the most spectacular examples for how these plants actively catch animals, mainly arthropods, for a substantial nutrient supply. We show that Drosera glanduligera, a sundew from southern Australia, features a sophisticated catapult mechanism: Prey animals walking near the edge of the sundew trigger a touch-sensitive snap-tentacle, which swiftly catapults them onto adjacent sticky glue-tentacles; the insects are then slowly drawn within the concave trap leaf by sticky tentacles. This is the first detailed documentation and analysis of such catapult-flypaper traps in action and highlights a unique and surprisingly complex mechanical adaptation to carnivory.

PMID:
23049849
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3458893
Free PMC Article
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