The Venus flytrap may look very deadly, but have you ever wondered how does a Venus fly trap attract its prey and bugs and forces them to land on its trap, which then snaps and traps its prey? Well, the answer lies in the sweet-smelling fragrance that it emits to draw the bugs close to it.
The Venus flytrap emits nectar made of organic compounds. It has a sweet floral smell and is present in the form of sweet nectar. The nectar mimics the fragrance of a fruit or flower towards which the bugs are generally attracted. It ensures that the prey is attracted to the Venus flytrap. Thus, it causes different bugs to come and land on the Venus flytrap in search of food.
The trap is made like a hinged structure and has hair-like outgrowths on the interior that can detect movement. So, once the fly lands on the Venus flytrap to suck on the fragrant nectar, the hair-like outgrowth detects movement and quickly sends electrical signals to the plant.
The plant, in turn, snaps shut with lightning speed and traps the prey. It happens as the plant quickly shifts the water pressure to the outer cells, due to which the inner cells become soft. Due to the pressure from the hardened outer wall, and the void in the interior cells, the trap quickly snaps shut.
Further, the thorn-like bristles at the end of the leaf tips make it hard for the fly or insect to escape when the trap closes. Thus, it essentially traps the prey with the leaves that seal shut.
However, the movement should be detected at least twice for the trap to shut. It helps the plant from closing due to accidental stimulation of the trap, because of natural factors like rain and wind. Thus, the plant saves the energy which may be wasted due to such artificial stimulation.
The trap immediately seals shut and forms an air-tight pouch. The more the insect struggles, the tighter the trap shuts. Once the trap is closed, the plant emits digestive enzymes that kill the prey and eventually digests it. It is then assimilated in the form of food by the Venus flytrap and provides the plant with the energy it needs.
Depending on the size of the bug, the Venus flytrap may take from one to several weeks to digest the prey. Until then, the trap stays sealed. Once the prey has been digested the Venus flytrap reopens and is ready for the preying again.
However, each trap can only close a limited number of times before it runs out of energy and nectar. Once this happens, the traps start to wither and eventually fall off. A new trap grows to replace the older trap so that the plant keeps getting the required nutrition.
Thus, this is how the Venus flytrap attracts the bugs and insects using sweet-smelling nectar, and then it traps and digests them over time.