The Lethal Speed of the Venus Flytrap

Discussion in 'Plants: In the News' started by Daniel Mosquin, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    How does a plant move fast enough to catch insects?

    More...
     
  2. flytrap

    flytrap Active Member

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    Nature is so amazing! And no batteries are required ...well, none at least, that are man made.
     
  3. flytrap

    flytrap Active Member

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    here's one picture I forgot to include for all you curious types ...
     

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  4. petauridae

    petauridae Active Member

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    That's amazing. I think I may use this information in one of my classes that I teach.
     
  5. Dark Ant

    Dark Ant Member

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    Do we know whose legs those belong to?
     
  6. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    *hears a faint muffled, help pull me out*

    look pretty slim, a supermodel prehaps?

    seriously, do flytraps have a prefered food or just eat whatever happens along?
     
  7. flytrap

    flytrap Active Member

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    I had posted this photo (with apologies to all nature/frog lovers) on a few carnivorous plant forums earlier this year. Quite an amazing response.

    The poor victim belongs to the family Hyla regilla (pacific treefrog or pacific chorus frog as some are trying to change the name to). He (she?) must have been caught earlier in the day as the venus flytrap had not entered into it's deadly clamp down stage. I did check to see if the little guy was still alive, but unfortunately, he was done for. Nature works in quick and efficient ways.

    To be fair, the froglet was small, just a tad over 1.5cm long and must have just metamorphosized, but more important, the venus flytrap is a giant cultivar I have growng in my greenhouse. The traps on this cultivar average over 5cm each...so they are quite large and "powerful".

    Here's a pic of the treefrog a couple of weeks later, demonstrating how powerful it's digestive juices can be:
     

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  8. petauridae

    petauridae Active Member

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    Oh my! It makes sense, but I never realized it would eat a small frog!
     
  9. flytrap

    flytrap Active Member

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    Here's a couple more pics, courtesy of Bob Ziemer (without his permission, but I'm sure Bob won't mind).

    Bob lives in northwestern California, and maintains the world's largest, most up to date and most amazing Carnivorous plant database of photographs:
    http://www.humboldt.edu/~rrz7001
     

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  10. Dark Ant

    Dark Ant Member

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    That's amazing, Flytrap.

    Thank you very much for getting back to me. And especially for the photos of the frog skeleton. Extraordinary image. Can't wait to show my 6 year old son.
     
  11. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    And here's a news story about another carnivorous plant - this time, digesting a small mouse (an NBC news site, but loaded with ads - sorry). Check out the video or slideshow, since the text is pretty sparse:

    http://www.nbc4.tv/news/9981163/detail.html
     
  12. kitten

    kitten Member

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    That is pretty neat. A friend of mine had a very small venus fly trap and it moved very quickly.
     
  13. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Active Member

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    I saw a clip of the ultraviolet fluorescent dots on the leaves they used to enable them to figure out how the traps of Dionaea could move so fast and it was awesome.

    The plant with the mouse is N. truncata. I know it is interesting and all but if you grow Neps, probably not a good idea to go to your local pet store to purchase "pinkies" as a treat for your plants. The pitcher in the video was generously proportioned and I have no doubt the mouse fell within the digestive zone of the pitcher but I'm thinking that would simply be too much mouse for that plant. I don't know if they left it in the pitcher or if they removed it but I would have removed it for fear of losing the pitcher. An infection can go systemic and then one risks the loss of their plant. Perhaps I don't know enough about how much they can actually handle but I use the rule of thumb of 1 insect until that's digested so that whole mouse in one of my pitchers would have made me very nervous.

    From time to time I find treefrogs in the pitchers of my Sarracenia. I free them but anything else is fair game and my plants do a remarkable job trapping those European Paper-wasps which is fine by me.

    CPs are a lot like bullfrogs... they are sit and wait. Regarding the Venus Fly Trap, there is a phenomenal video out there for educational purposes on trigger hairs (trichomes). The trigger hairs within the trap of the Dionaea muscipula actually have to be stimulated rapidly twice for the trapping mechanism to activate. This stops the plant from "going off" accidentally. Wonderful evolutionary adaptation.
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I think many predators, including carnivorous plants eat anything they can catch. Their body type and travel patterns, as well as what is present in their habitat determine what they get. Possibly selectivity is more prevalent among larger, vertebrate predators. The great white shark, for instance, seems to prefer blubber-bearing prey, apparently rejecting human targets after biting and discovering they are not nice fatty seals.

    It is also true, however that spiders seem to make an extra effort to kill and eat their own kind. Speaking of spiders, the larger ones often devour vertebrates in tropical rain forests, as do mantids. Which is creepier, plants eating mice or bugs eating birds?
     
  15. flytrap

    flytrap Active Member

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    I received a few emails in the past, including one today, about how large venus flytraps can grow to. In terms of the actual trap size, there are cultivars (cultivated varieties) of a few large plants, with traps averaging 5cm, sometimes a trap can grow to almost 7cm. The names of some of these "giant" venus flytrap cultivars/forms include: Dingley's giant, B52, Big mouth, G14 and SW Giant.

    Here's a pic of one of my more robust VFTs from last summer... the plant is over 33 cm (13") in diameter with traps averaging 3.8 cm. This plant was NOT one of the giant forms, but was in fact one of the red coloured cultivars.
     

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  16. Stickman000

    Stickman000 Active Member

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    AWESOME! Did you know that some of the largest pitcher plants have been known to devour small monkeys?!
     
  17. venusflytrapcaretaker

    venusflytrapcaretaker Member

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    what can you feed it? will it die if you feed it a little, small piece of ham? I know it needs distilled water and can't have hamburger.I wanted to know if it can eat any thing besides flies!
     
  18. Stickman000

    Stickman000 Active Member

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    Yes, it will eat things besides flies, but don't feed it raw meat, meat dog treats, etc. This will kill it. I, unfortunately, have had experience with this :(.
     
  19. SweetyMargie

    SweetyMargie Member

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    I've heard (read) that ants will give a VFT "indigestion" of sorts--too much exoskeleton, if I remember correctly. Other than than, most bugs, slugs and spiders are good eatin'.

    A rule of thumb that I read for feeding a VFT is if the bug fits comfortably inside, it's a good meal. If it hangs out too much, it can harm the plant as it deteriorates with the rest of its body.

    I just feed mine a mosquito this morning, which I believe should make for a good (tasty?) treat. Not as big as a fly, but a meal nonetheless.
     
  20. SweetyMargie

    SweetyMargie Member

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    Anyone know about pruning "dead heads"? That is, the black, shriveled and seemingly dead Flytrap traps????
     

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