by Jan T. Burri, Eashan Saikia, Nino F. Läubli, Hannes Vogler, Falk K. Wittel, Markus Rüggeberg, Hans J. Herrmann, Ingo Burgert, Bradley J. Nelson, Ueli Grossniklaus
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.