Venus flytraps only live in a small section of wooded, boggy areas of eastern North and South Carolina, which is actually a couple hundred miles east from the Appalachians, which is considered a temperate rain forest. Venus flytraps are one of 595 different carnivorous plant species around the world.
Opening and Closing
Venus flytraps must depend on nutrients and proteins from larger insects because of the lack of nutrients found in the soil in their habitat. When an insect enters between the two lobed leaves of the Venus flytrap, sensitive hairs on the opening of the flytrap are triggered. Beginning to move slowly, the flytrap closes within a second, trapping the larger insects inside while smaller insects are allowed to escape. If the flytrap closes in around a nonfood source object, such as a rock, nut or a piece of wood, it will reopen and eject the object within the next 12 hours.
The Venus flytrap secretes digestive enzymes that process the soft inner tissues and parts of the insect, while leaving the insect's exoskeleton intact. The flytrap also secretes an antiseptic that helps to prevent bacterial growth, which could potentially kill the Venus flytrap while it's digesting its prey. Over the course of five to 12 days, the Venus flytrap absorbs the digestive juices and nutrients from the insect. When the Venus flytrap reopens, the exoskeleton of the insect is usually blown away by the wind or rain.
No one truly knows how the Venus flytrap works the opening and closing of its lobed leaves. The Venus flytrap does not have a nervous system, muscles or tendons. Some scientists believe that the Venus flytrap produces an electrochemical enzyme that is triggered by a small electrical current produced by the Venus flytrap. When the electrochemical enzyme is triggered, the vascular system of the Venus flytrap changes the pressure equilibrium within the plant, causing it to open and close.
In addition to being at risk of becoming an endangered species due to the plant's popularity, the habitat for the Venus flytrap is quickly becoming polluted. Many of the bogs in the eastern Carolinas receive pollution and trash because the bogs are seen as a wasteland that does not serve any purpose for people. However, not only do bogs and other freshwater ecosystems contain rare species such as the Venus flytrap, but freshwater ecosystems are responsible for filtering and cleaning the freshwater supply.