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Fly caught by a sundew plant

Fly caught by a sundew plant

B610/0126

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Credit

DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

False-colour scanning electron micrograph of the leaf of a Cape sundew, Drosera capensis, showing a fly (family Psilidae) which has fallen victim to the insectivorous appetite of the plant. The sundew ensnares its victim by means of tentacles capped by globular sticky glands (red), which simultaneously attract the insect to the plant & hold it fast. The fly's struggles stimulate the tentacles, which slowly close in & clasp the prey. Enzymes are secreted to digest it. This mechanism has evolved to supplement the diet of the sundew, which grows in mineral-deficient uplands & bogs. Nitrogen in particular is obtained. Magnification: x10 at 6x4.5cm size. Reference: MICROCOSMOS, figure 4.19, page 76.

Release details

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