How do Utricularia, aquatic carnivorous plants commonly found in marshes, manage to capture their preys in less than a millisecond? A team of French physicists from the Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique has identified the ingenious mechanical process that enables the plant to ensnare any small, a little too curious aquatic animals that venture too closely. It is the reversal of its curvature and the release of the associated elastic energy that make it the fastest known aquatic trap in the world. These results are published on 16 February 2011 on the website of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B.
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