Forces required for Venus flytrap trigger hairs to detect small insect prey (Nature Plants) ($)

The remarkable adaptations of Venus flytrap traps enable them to sense and respond to insects, snapping shut to capture and then digest the unfortunate meal. Previous studies showed that the sensors, trigger hairs on the inner surface of the leaves, need at least two touches to initiate trap closure. New work by Scherzer et al. refines our understanding of this process. The authors measured the force that must be exerted on the trigger hairs, in terms of how much and how quickly they must be displaced, and the weight of the prey required for such movement. Their findings indicate that although most prey trigger trap closure, some tiny prey (less than 3 mg) are effectively ignored, suggesting that the payoff of such small prey might not be worth the effort to capture it. (Summary by Mary Williams) Nature Plants 10.1038/s41477-019-0465-1