This month KidsView is pleased to debut a column that will be featured throughout the year. It is all about investigating God’s creation and the amazing things we can learn about God through nature. If you have a Creation Investigation question you would like answered, write to us and we’ll work with Tammie Burak, the column’s writer, to have it answered and printed in KidsView! Just e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can bug eating plants snap shut so fast when they don't have a brain?
Kaylee and Leah B., Prince George, British Columbia, Canada
There are more than 600 different species of carnivorous plants and you can find them in virtually every part of the world—from near the North Pole, all the way south to Antarctica, and everywhere in between.
Carnivorous plants eat animals that they trap. Mostly, they eat invertebrates like small insects, but some underwater carnivorous plants catch prey as small as microscopic, one-celled protozoa. Some large carnivorous plants have been found with frog, bird, or even rat skeletons inside!
Not all carnivorous plants snap shut the way a Venus flytrap does. Bugs fall into the pitcher-shaped leaf of the pitcher plant and drown. The sundew traps insects in sticky goo. Amazingly, plants in the genus Utricularia actually suck underwater bugs into a digestive chamber when the trap-door mouth of the chamber is activated by touch.
Scientists cannot fully explain how plants like the Venus flytrap close so quickly. But here’s what is known about the fast-closing action of a flytrap. When an insect touches the hairs of the leaf, cells on the opposite side of the leaf release acid, causing that side of the leaf to suddenly grow. In a split second, the smaller side of the leaf (the side the bug touched) folds away from the growing side. The leaf snaps shut! This happens in as little as 0.03 seconds.
God’s Fingerprint in Creation
Plants that seem to behave like animals, moving swiftly to catch prey, seem mysterious and strange. God has created some pretty surprising plants–plants that don’t fit our definition of normal. For example, there are plants whose flowers or fruit stink like skunks or rotting meat (the skunk cabbage and tropical durian); flower-producing plants so small that a dozen could fit on the head of a pin; and even trees so weird they grow wider than they grow tall. God’s creative genius is truly awesome!
Get a clue! Search out these scriptures and see if you can figure out a) what carnivorous plants were like in the Garden of Eden; and b) what carnivorous plants will eat in the earth made new. Go to a) Genesis 1:29, 30; and b) Isaiah 11:9.