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venus fly trap

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by danny on March 21, 2006 10:49 PM
i have a question about my venus fly trap. I got one for my birthday in feburary, because it was cold there wasnt many flys or spiders to cath so i just watered it until i found a spider in my shed, so i cought it, had to kil it becasue it kept running away then the "trap" closed after a quick wobble of the spider, then i looked a few days later the trap had actually turned black and died, i thought it was a bit strange but thought nothing more of it until the other week.
i found a fly in my house so i managed to get it into my bedroom (more chance of catching if its a small area and cant get out) so after about 20 mins i got it (pulled it wings off) the trap ate it and again it turned black and died.
is there some i need to know such as a kind of species of fly trap that does this or is it broke?? any help is great
by seeme on March 21, 2006 11:37 PM
the same plant turned black twice,or you bought anothe one?sorry i am a little slow. [grin]
by Frisha on March 22, 2006 12:16 AM
I think they mean that the trap that 'ate' turned black after finishing it's job with the bug.

Danny you might want to do a fourm search as there have been soem pretty detailed threads inteh past dealing with VFTs. They had information on soil, care, feeding, the dormentcey period... Don't have one myself so not to much help directly.
by TomR on March 23, 2006 09:22 AM
DON'T try to feed the plant. It will take care of itself. Keep the soil moist (set it in a tray of 1 inch of water) and give it as much sun as possible. These plants will need a dormant period from November to February also.

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My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
by danny on March 23, 2006 09:35 AM
aah right, so, how come i cant feed them my self??
by Aaron D on March 25, 2006 11:27 AM
well the reason these traps are turning black is the bacteria and fungus that maybe on or in the insect/ spider and infest and grow well in the nutrient rich soup inside the closed trap... these fluids that "digest" insects are enzymes not acid like in our stomachs... good cadidates to use are freeze dryed inscets (just moisten for a little bit and drop in the trap) these morsels will have a much lower count of bacteria and wont turn the traps black... another good insect to feed VFT's (Venus Fly Traps) are ants many can fit in one trap, and they are very clean (inside and out) but... theres not much to eat, so your VFT will be done after a few days (my VFT usually dines for a week or more on a large fly)...dont worry its a naturally occuring process for the traps to die back... insects arent the cleanest things on this earth... AND VFT's make up for this with many more traps to replace the old dead ones... make sure to water well using the tray method and let the water in the tray dry up for a day or too so the plant doesnt rot... these plants HATE having wet feet for long periods of time... let me know if you have any more culture tips... I LOVE CARNIVOROUS PLANTS!!!!!!!!!! [Smile] [Smile] [Smile] [Smile] [Smile] nice to meet someone else who has a similar interest...
by Aaron D on March 25, 2006 11:33 AM
oh, but minimum feeding is alright such as feeding once a month... but they will tolerate more feeding and you will notice that the plants you feed the most will be more robust and bigger... i mean dont give it three meals a day LOL [Smile] but once every week or two is alright... depending on how many traps there are and how big the plant is... for example the smaller and fewer traps once a month will keep the plant stuffed and content... but a GIANT plant with 20+ traps will appreciate being feed almost every 1 to 2 weeks...
by danny on March 28, 2006 12:40 AM
theres about 6 bigish sized traps, and quite a few really small ones
by TomR on March 31, 2006 09:39 AM
Let the plant catch it's own bugs. Don't feed it. Also, some traps just die, new ones will form. Also if the bug it catches is too big (over 1/3rd the trap size) the trap will prbably die. It's o.k. though, a new trap will form.


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My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
by carnivorousplantsarecool on March 31, 2006 09:46 AM
The reason your VFT did that was probably because the insect was too big. VFT's have special enzymes in them that kill off bacteria however, in order for them to work, another enzyme has to seal up the trap. If the bug was too big, then the bacteria would have been able to grow on the fly, thus making it turn black. The reason that the VFT died after you fed it the dead spider was for partially the same reason. The VFT knew it was dead because it was not moving, so it did not fully close. You may want to try either wobbling around the spider with tweezers to stimulate aliveness, or either pinch the trap shut with your fingers.
You're Welcome,
by Aaron D on April 01, 2006 03:48 AM
The reason I am posting this reply is there is some incorrect information on some previous posts… to begin with VFT’s do not have enzymes to kill bacteria nor do enzymes seal the traps… enzymes are macromolecules (very large) that act as catalysts; engaging one to many complex chemical reactions. For instance the midrib in the center of the VFT’s traps secrets enzymes to react with the body of the insect. This reaction will result in the breaking down of the soft tissues of the insect and in some instances reorganizing them into useful and ‘digestible’ materials. Although some bacteria caught in the trap; either on the trap or on the insect; will be digested too. BUT the majority will not, thus going about their normal business, frolicking around in a nutrient ‘soup’ and they couldn’t be happier. So as you can tell they also munch on the insect and will turn on the VFT, eating it as well. So as you can imagine the VFT, has evolved dealing with this dilemma. Unlike other carnivorous plants such as the SUNDEW and the BUTTERWORT… who ‘digest’ insects on top of their leaves exposed to all the hungry bacteria and fungus. These plants ALSO secret enzymes not to digest but to guard the plant and its prized meal… as an example many prey on the BUTTERWORT will remain intact and will not attract fungus or bacteria after the digestion process… the Scandinavian BUTTERWORT has been used in many European countries as a milk coagulant (to make cheese) and a disinfectant, for cuts and burns… unfortunately the VFT does not have this defense… so instead to just grabbing the prey… it also seals the trap (water tight); most importantly BEFORE digestion; to prevent the unwanted intrusion of MORE bacteria and fungus later… second enzymes don’t seal the trap the trap seals itself by use of certain cells with stretch and warp during the ‘catching’ process achieving the desired water tight shape… but a very thin cuticle (waxy) layer will form to aid in the sealing process… finally, although movement must be made for the trap to close. the body of the insect must be pressing up against almost all of the “trigger trichomes” (tiny hairs which are the ‘trap release’ which is the first stage in capturing the prey) to engage the second stage which is sort of a constriction making the trap water tight. For instance a single ant may trigger the trap to close (and it can’t get out) but the ant may be too small and wont press up against the ‘hairs’, this will result in the trap reopening… Charles Darwin hypothesized that the trap evolved this process to prevent the waste of useful energy (ATP) on such meaningless prey… let me know if you have any other questions…

by carnivorousplantsarecool on April 01, 2006 04:59 AM
I thought you guys might be interested in this: A team of researchers has solved the riddle of one of the plant kingdom's fastest and most ferocious movements: the blink-of-an-eye closing of the Venus flytrap.

Professor Mahadevan mimics his subject. (Staff photo Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office)
While "speed" is not a word most people associate with the plant kingdom, the Venus flytrap closes its v-shaped leaves in just one-tenth of a second - fast enough to accomplish a feat thousands if not millions of backyard barbecuers fail at each summer: snaring a fly.

So how can a plant pull this off?

By storing and releasing elastic energy, according to Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan.

Mahadevan likened the Venus flytrap's hinged leaves to a plastic lid that is bowed in one direction and then suddenly pops the other way. While waiting for prey, the plant's leaves are bowed outward, opening the hinged trap. When an insect touches the hairy triggers located inside of the trap, the plant moves water in the leaves, changing their curvature and suddenly snapping them closed.

"It is a relatively simple mechanism, but the plant is actively controlling it," Mahadevan said.

The plant then excretes digestive enzymes that break down the meal, providing nutrients that the plant cannot get from the poor, boggy soil where it grows naturally.

This came from the Harvard Gazette
by carnivorousplantsarecool on April 01, 2006 08:19 AM
Hey, sorry about that misinformation, I misread an article. Anyway, my area of expertise isn't gardening (It's a new hobby), it's Cafeteria Food. I wrote a book on it!
by Amber J on April 05, 2006 03:20 PM
I raise VFTs and that is something that happens - the traps usually eat about 3 times and they will turn black and fall off. I cut mine off because it's unsightly, but as long as the food isn't any more than 1/3 the size of the trap itself, it's just fine.

You should also watch out for crickets (they can sometimes carry a fungus when they live in a moist environment), and things with wings, because they'll sometimes stick out of the traps and invite fungus.

Hope that helps!

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