This prizewinning shot of a carnivorous plant’s jaws looks like something out of an alien world
Have you heard of the humped bladderwort? (Snort!) Ahem. It’s sort of an aquatic version of the venus flytrap, sucking in unlucky prey after they brush past it. It’s also REALLY cool looking:
The plant floats in water waiting for its prey to touch its trigger hairs, which cause the plant to open its trap so quickly that it sucks in water as well as some unlucky microinvertebrates. The pretty little flakes near the bottom of the image are single-cell algae that live inside the trap. The image is magnified 100 times.
Neurobiologist and photographer Igor Siwanowicz took the shot, which won the 2013 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition (and you can see why). It’s as eye-catching as a swanky restaurant aquarium, and hella detailed, with the zesty colors of a coed’s blacklight poster. (Siwanowicz used Calcofluor, a cellulose-binding fluorescent dye, to get the vivid hues.)
It’s also mildly terrifying. As terrifying as something called the humped bladderwort can be. Now excuse us as we cackle to ourselves.