Good News, Everybody: Carnivorous Plants Know How To Count
There are a few stories about evil plants -- Little Shop Of Horrors, The Day Of The Triffids, The Ruins, uh ... The Happening? Does that count as a "story"? Regardless, plant-based horror has never really caught on as a genre, probably because humans have hedge clippers and the ability to move, like, two feet out of the way of things.
But new research has found that some carnivorous plants have actually developed the ability to "count," and use this to capture prey.
The Venus flytrap has different phases associated with a certain number. For instance, each time an insect brushes against it, the flytrap enters a new stage of its hunting process. As the bug starts to freak out, the plant uses its actions as signals to begin the countdown to dinner. One touch means getting ready to go, three means closing its maw, and five means beginning the digestion process. This mechanism also lets the flytrap conserve energy; if the bug moves very little, it might be too small to be worth eating, or it might've already escaped.
OK, so it's not quite apocalypse territory, but it's not exactly comforting either.
It's still freaky, but it can also be cool to have a little Venus Flytrap around.
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