How a Sneaky Sundew Hurls Prey Into its Traps
‘Cause when you’re covered in biomechanical trebuchets, veganism is too easy.
Drosera glanduligera is like any other sundew at first glance, covered in small, hairlike tentacles with globs of sticky liquid at their tips. But unlike its rather pedestrian relatives, this Aussie native is far from complacent about its hunting. Those whip-shaped tentacles you see in the photo above are capable of snagging and throwing meals straight into the plant’s glue trap.
The movement happens fast—faster than a Venus flytrap’s chomper snapping shut—and is powerful enough to snap the tentacle’s “hinge” in the process. But for a plant that replaces its leaves every three to four days, using up a few tentacles for dinner is workaday.
Scientists have known about these tentacles for some time, at least in this species, but research is only just now picking up on the phenomenon. Click through for more. —MN