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Did you know that Venus flytraps are insect pollinated? Or that they are native to a very small part of eastern North and South Carolina? Or that they rarely eat flies? I didn’t either until I stumbled upon a research paper talking about the pollination of Venus flytraps. That paper led me down a rabbit hole of questions and fascinating discoveries about a plant that I had always been intrigued by, but had never taken the time to really learn about.
In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we’re joined by Laurie Hamon. Laurie is an entomologist who recently completed her dissertation at North Carolina State University studying Venus fly traps and their pollination. She is also the author of the paper that I stumbled upon and which sent me on my own quest to learn more about Venus flytraps.
Laurie and I began our conversation by talking about how the only place in the world that you can find Venus flytraps growing naturally is in a small region on the border of North and South Carolina. We also talked about the fact that Venus flytraps are insect pollinated and all the complicated questions that arise from the idea of a carnivorous plant being insect pollinated.
Other topics of discussion included the feeding habits of Venus flytraps (which eat more ants and spiders than flies), the population status of Venus flytraps, where you can find them, and the threats that they face. We wrapped up the conversation by talking about how small populations of this rare and infinitely fascinating species can sometimes be found on private lands or along boggy roadsides. Laurie also provided us with a website where people who are lucky enough to have Venus flytraps on their property can go to learn more about how to care for and protect this charismatic little plant.
- Venus Flytrap Champions website: https://www.venusflytrapchampions.org/
- Laurie’s dissertation: The Pollination Ecology of the Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) and a Status Survey of its Native Populations: https://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/bitstream/handle/1840.20/39455/etd.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
- Laurie’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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- Venus flytraps
- Photo credit: North Carolina Wetlands, public domain