Australian Sundew with catapult tentacles
by Michael dEstries
Categories: Science.

Most of us might be familiar with the standard sundew carnivorous plant – which sports sticky tentacles to snag bugs. But scientists this week pulled back the curtain on an Australian version, Drosera glanduligera, which comes with an additional punch: a “snap” tentacle that can move four times faster than the blink of an eye – and catapults prey towards its sticky co-workers.

“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 authors wrote in the journal PLOS ONE.

“The insects are then slowly drawn within the concave trap leaf by sticky tentacles.”

Also on Ecorazzi: Carnivorous plants going vegetarian due to air pollution

Quipped co-author Thomas Speck, of the Plant Mechanics Group at Germany’s University of Freiburg, “If the plant were about a hundred times larger, I wouldn’t like to walk around eastern Australia.”

Check out a time-lapse of the sundew in action below.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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