Researchers have for the first time discovered which insects pollinate the rare plants “and discovered that the flytraps don’t dine on these pollinator species,” according to the story, which cites a report issued by NC State.
“Everybody’s heard of Venus flytraps, but nobody knew what pollinated them – so we decided to find out,” said a statement from Clyde Sorenson, co-author of a paper describing the research.
The rare plants are botanical curiosity that are found only in boggy habitats near Wilmington, and they are considered an at-risk species, threatened by encroaching development. They are also illegally poached and sold as pets in larger markets.
Three bugs never showed up, despite frequently visiting Venus flytraps: A green sweat bee, a checkered beetle and the notch-tipped flower longhorn beetle.
How the plants are smart enough to know what not to eat remains a mystery, but research is ongoing.