Illustration for article titled Carnivorous plants capture prey with subsecond speed

Lacking any sort of nervous system, how do carnivorous plants like the aquatic bladderworts move with enough speed and purpose to catch their prey? These waterbound bug eaters are covered in tiny bladders which they've squeezed all the water out of, leaving them with an internal pressure lower than outside.

When triggered by passing larvae or nematodes, the trapdoor on the bladder opens extremely quickly, sucking prey into the water vacuum. Just how fast does this happen? High speed footage shows the doors open in 300–700 microseconds, faster than any recorded carnivorous plant, and faster than the prey's nervous system has time to process — which results in a plant able to out-move its prey.


Research published in Biology Letters

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