Morphing structures of the Dionaea muscipula ellis during the trap opening and closing

Alexander G. Volkov, Victoria Forde-Tuckett, Maya I. Volkova, Vladislav S. Markin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The Venus flytrap is a marvelous plant that has intrigued scientists since the times of Charles Darwin. This carnivorous plant is capable of very fast movements to catch a prey. We found that the maximal speed of the trap closing in the Dionaea muscipula Ellis is about 130 000 times faster than the maximal speed of the trap opening. The mechanism and kinetics of this movement was debated for a long time. Here, the most recent Hydroelastic Curvature Model is applied to the analysis of this movement during closing and opening of the trap with or without a prey. Equations describing the trap movement were derived and verified with experimental data. Chloroform and ether, both anesthetic agents, induce action potentials and close the trap without the mechanical stimulation of trigger hairs. We tested this by dropping 10 μL of ether on the midrib inside the trap without touching any of the mechanosensitive trigger hairs. The trap closed slowly in 10 s. This is at least 20 times slower than the closing of the trap mechanically or electrically. The similar effect can be induced by placing 10 μL of chloroform on the midrib inside the trap, however, the lobes closing time in this case is as fast as closing after mechanical stimulation of the trigger hairs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27793
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - 2014


  • Carnivorous plant
  • Plant biomechanics
  • Plant physiology
  • Plant signaling
  • Venus flytrap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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