North Carolina State University Researchers Discover Venus-Flytrap Spares Insects That Pollinate Them

In *All by Ag is America

Researchers at North Carolina State University discovered which insects pollinate the rare Venus-Flytrap for the first time. More impressively, they also discovered that the plants do not eat those species. These findings answer questions about the ecology of the plant native to a small and threatened ecosystem in Wilmington, NC. Researchers recognize that many know of the Venus flytrap, but nobody knew which insects pollinated them.

Researchers captured insects found on Venus flytrap flowers at several sites, identifying and checking to see if they were carrying Venus flytrap pollen. Out of about 100 types of insects found on the flowers, only a few were both common and carrying a lot of pollen. These key insect species were also never found in the traps. The three most important pollinator species are a green sweat bee (Augochlorella gratiosa), a checkered beetle (Trichodes apivorus) and the notch-tipped flower longhorn beetle (Typocerus sinuatus).

In 2016, ecologists petitioned for Venus-Flytraps to be included on the federal endangered species list, following a poaching incident in North Carolina. Researchers hope that their work will protect and contribute to the longevity of this rare plant.

To learn more about this research from North Carolina State University, read more here.

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