Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ultra-fast suction traps leave no chance for prey animals

Date:
February 16, 2011
Source:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Summary:
Bladderworts (Utricularia spp.) constitute the largest genus of carnivorous plants. They catch and digest prey animals, mainly small crustaceans, with millimetre-sized suction traps. These so-called bladders have fascinated scientists since Darwin's early works on carnivorous plants. Researchers have now investigated the biophysical details of this prey capture mechanism for the first time.

Trap of the Common Bladderwort.
Credit: Photo by Carmen Weißkopf

Bladderworts (Utricularia spp.) constitute the largest genus of carnivorous plants. They catch and digest prey animals, mainly small crustaceans, with millimetre-sized suction traps. These so-called bladders have fascinated scientists since Darwin’s early works on carnivorous plants.

Related Articles


A joint project between the Plant Biomechanics Group of the University of Freiburg, led by Prof. Dr. Thomas Speck, and the Laboratoire de Spectrométrie Physique of the University of Grenoble has investigated the biophysical details of this prey capture mechanism for the first time.

The bladders contain water which is pumped out by special glands, hence generating negative pressure und allowing elastic energy to be stored in the trap walls. A door with four protruding trigger hairs provides a watertight closure for the trap. When these hairs are touched by prey, the door opens and closes in a fraction of a second, and relaxation of the trap walls leads to the sucking of water and prey. This capture process takes less than a millisecond and therefore ranks among the fastest plant movements known so far.

Prey animals are sucked in with an acceleration of up to 600 times that of gravity, leaving them no chance to escape. The door deformation involves a complete inversion of curvature which runs in several distinguishable intermediate steps. This ultra-fast, complex and at the same time precise and highly repetitive movement is enabled by certain functional-morphological adaptations.

Furthermore, this process was verified by numerical simulations and theoretical models.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Olivier Vincent, Carmen Weißkopf, Simon Poppinga, Tom Masselter, Thomas Speck, Marc Joyeux, Catherine Quilliet, Philippe Marmottant. Ultra-fast underwater suction traps. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2011; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2292

Cite This Page:

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "Ultra-fast suction traps leave no chance for prey animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216110314.htm>.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. (2011, February 16). Ultra-fast suction traps leave no chance for prey animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216110314.htm
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "Ultra-fast suction traps leave no chance for prey animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110216110314.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Giant Panda Goes Walkabout in Southwest China

Giant Panda Goes Walkabout in Southwest China

AFP (Mar. 6, 2015) — A giant panda goes walkabout alone at night in southwest China. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nesting Bald Eagle Covered in Snow Up to Its Neck

Nesting Bald Eagle Covered in Snow Up to Its Neck

Buzz60 (Mar. 6, 2015) — The Pennsylvania State Game Commission captured amazing shots of a nesting bald eagle who stayed on its nest during a snowstorm, even when the snow piled all the way up to its neck. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lack of Snow Pushes Alaska Sled Dog Race North

Lack of Snow Pushes Alaska Sled Dog Race North

AP (Mar. 6, 2015) — A shortage of snow has forced Alaska&apos;s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to move 300 miles north to Fairbanks. The ceremonial start through downtown Anchorage will take place this weekend, using snow stockpiled earlier this winter. (March 6) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins