By Yasemin Saplakoglu / Livescience.com

Carnivorous plants known as Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) lure insects between their blushing leaves with a fragrant nectar. When these insect-hungry plants snap down on their unassuming prey, they generate a measurable magnetic field, according to a new study.

The plant’s magnetic field is more than a million times weaker than Earth’s. Rather than serving a function for the plant this magnetic field is likely a byproduct of electrical energy that flows through its leaves, said lead author Anne Fabricant, a doctoral candidate at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the Helmholtz Institute Mainz in Germany. Still, it’s one of the first such fields ever detected in plants. 

“Wherever there is electrical activity, there should also be magnetic activity,” Fabricant told Live Science. The laws of electromagnetism dictate that anything with an electrical current also generates a magnetic field; and that includes humans, animals and plants. In fact, it’s such a common phenomenon among living things that there’s a name associated with it: biomagnetism. But while much research focused on such magnetic fields in humans and animals, not much has been done to understand biomagnetism in the plant world.

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