Bladderwort opens wide

By Allison Bohac, 12:31 PM January 9, 2014

Under a microscope, the tiny trap of a carnivorous plant becomes an impressive gaping maw. Rootless and adrift in its wetland habitat, the humped bladderwort (Utricularia gibba) preys on water fleas and other small invertebrates. Organisms that trip the plant’s sensory hairs are sucked inside bladderlike traps to be digested.

Neurobiologist Igor Siwanowicz of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, Va., created this psychedelic image of a bladderwort’s tr...

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