Essay about The Venus Fly Trap

1547 Words Dec 30th, 2012 7 Pages
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
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This will signal the trap to continue to tighten its hold on the victim. If the prey is small enough, it can slip through the teeth of the trap and escape(Halpern 8). Darwin noted this in his research and theorized that this would allow for prey that would be too small to provide significant nutrition to escape and prevent the Venus flytrap from using valuable energy digesting a meal that wouldn't provide a good source of energy in return(Meeker-O’Connell 8).
If the trap is unsuccessful in capturing any prey when it closes, because the prey was able to escape or a close leaf triggered it, the tightening phase will not occur(Kudlinski 7). The trap will slowly begin to reopen and should be fully open again within a day or two. However, if the trap tightens, many times it will eventually turn black and die(Souza 8). There is also a noticeable slowness in closing from the first time the trap is closed to the following closures of the same trap(Halpern 9).
If the trap has successfully captured prey and the prey didn't escape before the tightening phase, the trap begins the sealing phase. During this phase the teeth of the trap start bending upward and out in a way that they are no longer interlaced(Stefoff 9). The rims of the lobes just underneath the teeth on either side of the trap are pushed tightly together. Once the seal is tight, the digestive enzymes are released, drowning the insect and beginning the digestion

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