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.”
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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.