Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Feed Me!

I bought a Venus Fly Trap on my birthday this year (Glen's sister gave me a gift card to the hardware store so I bought plant pots and dirt to replant my other plants and then I bought a little Venus Fly Trap.) I've wanted one for YEARS and every time we went to the hardware store I'd ask Glen if we could get one.

I've been babying this thing because I really want it to survive (I have bad luck with plants - mostly because the cats used to dig them up!). It seems that the dirt for the plants we bought came with free flies (?!) because there seems to be an abundance of little tiny flies that have appeared whenever I've re-potted something. So I've been chasing them around with my VFT. Quite a few times the fly has landed in a trap but hasn't been caught, until today! I didn't actually catch the trapping only the aftermath of it.
Basically, for people who don't know, the traps sit open (or mostly open) until some sort of bug crawls in and triggers the guard hairs. The hairs need to be triggered a certain amount of times before the trap shuts (the speed of this is apparently partially determined by the temperature). Once the trap shuts, the digestive liquids start to flow in and the trap seals.

A trap in the first stages of catching/sealing look a lot like a trap that has accidentally been triggered. What I noticed on the trap that caught the fly is that one side looked kind of puffy near the bottom and then the top looked kind of squeezed together.
Once the trap is sealed the spiky bits start to bend backwards instead of being interlaced. To visualise this better, clasp both hands together with your fingers interlaced but have your fingers sticking up. Now, still keeping your hands together separate your fingers and make a V with them (the V is if you're looking at your hands from the sides) keep the base of your fingers/the top of your hand touching. That's eventually what the trap will look like.

You can see the start of it here. The back part of the trap is still interlaced a bit while the closest part has started separating a bit. That's when I knew for sure that my trap had caught a fly and it hadn't just been triggered by me moving the plant.

This is all very exciting and I'll be paying close attention to what happens over the next few days.

(I think the two traps at the bottom right of the last picture look like deformed/shock traps. I should probably just take them off the plant since they probably won't be able to catch anything... I'll give them a little while longer and see if they start looking better).

Also something funny, about a week and a half after I bought my VFT I had a dream that it turned into Audrey II. Complete with singing. haha

Temperature: +9C
Sunrise: 7:30am
Sunset: 5:23pm


toni in florida said...

Does that mean your new nickname could be Seymour? Love that weird movie and your weird plant, too!

Megan said...

Maybe only when I start feeding people to my plant haha

Lynne S of Oz said...

Feed me, Megan, feed me! (But not too much - you can kill them by overfeeding them!)
The little flies are fungus gnats most likely - they are really small? Their babies live on decaying stuff, like potting mix.

Megan said...

Lynne - Thanks! That's good to know. It's only caught it's second thing (actually.. I just fed it a spider). We don't really have many other bugs around for it.
Yes, the flies are really small. Good to know what they are (just googled and that's definitely what they look like!). There don't seem to be many around (not as much as when I first brought my aloe plant home).