Wild Things: Mongooses, Bladderworts and More...
Fairy-wrens, wasps, and a nearly 3,000 year old big toe
- By T.A. Frail, Megan Gambino, Laura Helmuth, Jesse Rhodes and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, April 2011
(Barry Rice / Sarracenia.com)
Tiny aquatic bladderworts are the world's fastest carnivorous plants, say researchers from the University of Grenoble and elsewhere. The plant takes its time getting ready to eat: it pumps water out of its trap for an hour to create a vacuum. Then when a small crustacean taps a trigger hair, a trapdoor opens and the plant sucks in water—and prey—within a millisecond. Once inside, the prey is dissolved by digestive juices.
Learn more about bladderworts at the Encyclopedia of Life.
“A Mechanical Signal Biases Caste Development in a Social Wasp,” Sainath Suryanarayanan et al., Current Biology, January 20, 2011
“Ultra-fast underwater suction traps,” Olivier Vincent et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, February 16, 2011
“The art of medicine: The ancient origins of prosthetic medicine,” Jacqueline Finch., The Lancet, February 12, 2011
“Danger may enhance communication: predator calls alert females to male displays,” Emma I. Greig and Stephen Pruett-Jones, Behavioral Ecology, October 12, 2010
“Reproductive competition and the evolution of extreme birth synchrony in a cooperative mammal,” S. J. Hodge et al., Biology Letters, August 4, 2010