The Venus flytrap or Dionaea muscipula is a small, carnivorous plant that is harmless to humans but deadly to certain insects. Although this plant has been the subject of scientific interest for many years, its closing mechanism is still not fully understood.
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The Venus flytrap is native to only one region in the world --- a 75-mile area around Wilmington, North Carolina. Although this plant has been successfully introduced to certain areas of Florida and New Jersey, its true habitat lies in the bogs of the Coastal Plains region between southeastern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina.
Adapted to growing in poor, sandy, acidic soil conditions, the Venus flytrap derives its nutrition by ingesting small spiders and insects such as flies and ants. The plant takes approximately three to 14 days to digest a meal.
The Venus flytrap catches insects in traps consisting of hinged, clamshell-shaped leaves, equipped with finger-like teeth along the edges. When an insect touches two or more sensitive trigger hairs inside the trap, the trap jaws spring closed, tightening around the insect. According to North Carolina State University, each trap is capable of closing only two to four times before the leaves turn black and die.
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