DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Macrophotograph of the Venus fly trap plant, Dionaea muscipula, showing the open leaves & trigger hairs. The leaves are designed like a sophisticated mechanical trap; they are two-lobed, with a rib down the middle that functions like a hinge. The edge of each lobe has long thin spines which interlock to form a prison when the two lobes close around an unwary insect. The closure of the leaf is triggered by the three long, touch- sensitive hairs on the inner surface of each lobe. When an insect is trapped, the leaf secretes an enzyme which helps to decompose it, releasing carbon & nitrogen for the plant's use.
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