Venus flytraps are carnivorous plants native to a small region of wetlands in the eastern United States. They have however been introduced to other areas of the world and are popular as houseplants. The flytrap snaps shut and imprisons its prey when triggered by a time- and touch-sensitive mechanism. Once the prey has been digested, the trap re-opens ready for another victim. Each individual trap on the Venus flytrap can only operate three or four times, after which it photosynthesizes like a normal leaf or dies back.
Scientific name: Dionaea muscipula
Timelapse shows the deadly Venus fly trap in action.
Darwin called the Venus flytrap the 'most wonderful plant in the world', yet owing to the demand for carnivorous plants as houseplants, they are now listed as vulnerable by the IUCN. The illegal collection of the plant is devastating their population in the wild. Added to that, the destruction of their native habitat and the draining of swamps, mean that these plants need a concerted effort to help them continue to survive in their rightful place – the wild.
The Venus flytrap can be found in a number of locations including: North America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Venus flytrap distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Year assessed: 2000
Classified by: IUCN 2.3
The Venus flytrap (also Venus's flytrap or Venus' flytrap), Dionaea muscipula, is a carnivorous plant native to subtropical wetlands on the East Coast of the United States. It catches its prey—chiefly insects and arachnids— with a trapping structure formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant's leaves and is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces. When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap closes if a different hair is contacted within twenty seconds of the first strike. The requirement of redundant triggering in this mechanism serves as a safeguard against a waste of energy in trapping objects with no nutritional value.
Dionaea is a monotypic genus closely related to the waterwheel plant and sundews, all of which belong to the family Droseraceae.
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