The Venus Fly Trap
The Venus Fly Trap, Dionaea muscipula, is a carnivorous plant native to the bogs and swamplands of North and South Carolina(Halpern 2). It preys on insects with its uniquely shaped terminal portion of its leaves. Each leaf has two primary regions: the leaf-base and the trapping mechanism(Souza 3). The flat typical leaf-like region is called the leaf-base and it is capable of carrying out photosynthesis and grows out of the ground. The trapping mechanism, called the leaf-blade or lamina, at the end of the leaf that is composed of two lobes that are hinged together by a midrib(Kudlinski 2). Each trap usually has between two and five "trigger" hairs on each lobe with three trigger hairs on each lobe being normal(Stefoff 2). The edge of the trap is lined with teeth or finger-like cilia that lace together when the trap shuts. The leaf-base and leaf-blade are joined together by what is referred to as the petiole(Souza 3). Venus Fly Traps have evolved to become carnivorous due to the fact that the soil that they grow in is lacking or short on certain key nutrients that are fundamental to plant growth. The agents that Venus Fly Traps grow in are nitrogen poor and acidic(Meeker-O’Connell 1). Without an abundant supply of nitrogen, it is difficult for a plant to synthesize protein, and thus grow. Therefore, in order to supplement their nitrogen supply, Venus Fly Traps trap and digest insects, such as flies, spiders, and crickets(Stefoff 4). Each insect that the Venus fly trap catches and digests is like a little piece of fertilizer for the plant, giving it a small boost of nutrients to promote growth(Kudlinski 5). On the upper portion of each side of the trap the Venus Fly Trap there are anthocyanins, which are little pigments that appear red or purple on the surface of the trap. This coloration is probably what draws in most insects(Souza 4). However, the trap also secretes mucilage, a type of protein. So once the insect has landed on the leaf, it...
Cited: Halpern, Monica. Venus flytraps, bladderworts, and other wild and amazing plants. Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2006. Print.
Kudlinski, Kathleen V.. Venus flytraps. Minneapolis, Minn.: Lerner Publications Co., 1998. Print.
Meeker-O 'Connell, Ann. "How Venus Flytraps Work." HowStuffWorks "Science". N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. <http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/botany/venus-flytrap.htm>.
Souza, D. M.. Meat-eating plants. New York: Franklin Watts, 2002. Print.
Stefoff, Rebecca. Flytrap. New York: Benchmark Books, 1999. Print.
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