At this stage, the plant produced a plant defense hormone, jasmonic acid-the same one released in noncarnivorous plants when being eaten by an insect.
Initially, Venus flytraps entice insects and trick them into landing on their toothy leaves by the red color of the open halves of each of the traps, and a fruity odor that the plant's traps emit.
A third touch will start preparing the digestive juices, while five will trigger the digestive juices to flow. A second touch caused the trap to close around the prey.
Venus flytraps are probably the most famous plants that hunt. According to Andrej Pavlovic from the Comenius University, a lot of facts have been known about the Venus flytrap but this is the first time that a study proves that these mysterious plants can count the electrical impulses and start their digestive process accordingly.
It takes several days to a week to digest the insect, and the plant's efficiency is also obvious in this case. These plants are remarkably the sophisticated hunters who lure insects with sweet nectar.
For the study, published in the journal Current Biology, Professor Hedrich and his team used a machine to simulate an insect touching Venus flytraps.
"The number of action potentials informs the plant about the size and nutrient content of the struggling prey", said Rainer Hedrich, lead author in the study from the University of Würzburg.
As the insectivorous hunters of the plant world, Venus flytraps have evolved some radical features to attract and ensnare meals. More touches results in more enzymes for faster digestion. The first touch makes the plant to enter a preparatory state.
Their diets are made up of ants, spiders, beetles, grasshoppers and flying insects now it's been revealed that the legendary Venus flytrap counts in order to catch its prey.
In approximately six to seven hours, the trap becomes hermetically sealed. In other words, the insect actually "tells" the plant how much effort to use. The team made a decision to test it further by observing the plant's reaction when fed crickets. The responses of Venus flytraps, the researchers found, were not "automatic".
Not only does the plant know how to count, but it is also designed for maximum efficiency, allowing little to no energy to be lost. It's not clear exactly what the salt does for the plant, but the researchers suggest that it may have something to do with how Venus flytraps maintain the right balance of water inside their cell walls.
Next, Hendrich and his colleagues will sequence the genome of Venus flytrap which will possibly provide additional clues about plant's sensory system and the whole mechanism of preying.