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A single touch can provide sufficient mechanical stimulation to trigger Venus flytrap closure

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Burri Jan T., Saikia Eashan, Läubli Nino F., Vogler Hannes, Wittel Falk K., Rüggeberg Markus, Herrmann Hans J., Burgert Ingo, Nelson Bradley J., Grossniklaus Ueli,
Project Mechanical Basis for the Convergent Evolution of Sensory Hairs in Animals and Plants
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal PLOS Biology
Volume (Issue) 18(7)
Page(s) e3000740 - e3000740
Title of proceedings PLOS Biology
DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000740

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


The carnivorous Venus flytrap catches prey by an ingenious snapping mechanism. Based on work over nearly 200 years, it has become generally accepted that two touches of the trap’s sensory hairs within 30 s, each one generating an action potential, are required to trigger closure of the trap. We developed an electromechanical model, which, however, suggests that under certain circumstances one touch is sufficient to generate two action potentials. Using a force-sensing microrobotic system, we precisely quantified the sensory-hair deflection parameters necessary to trigger trap closure and correlated them with the elicited action potentials in vivo. Our results confirm the model’s predictions, suggesting that the Venus flytrap may be adapted to a wider range of prey movements than previously assumed.