From the March 23, 1935, issue | Science News

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50 Years Ago

From the March 23, 1935, issue

By
1:06pm, March 23, 2005

FAMOUS INSECT-EATING PLANT CATCHES MANY SPIDERS

Venus' flytrap might with equal correctness be called a spider trap. This famous insect-catching plant, once called by Darwin "the most wonderful plant in the world," has been restudied recently by Prof. Robert F. Griggs of George Washington University. He discovered that the largest single class of animals among its victims consists of spiders. Examination of hundreds of its traplike, hinged leaves showed that spiders formed 28 percent of all its catch. Flies were a close second, with 24 percent.

Other prey included beetles, ants, and roaches. There was one tiny toad, a scorpion, a couple of snails, and one daddy longlegs. In general, the plant's victims were mainly insects that fly little or not at all; there were few highly active fliers like bees and wasps.

Prof. Griggs made an effort to find an answer to the old que

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