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Thread: Why aren't Darlingtonia posts under "Quasi-carnivr

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    Since it is very clear that Darlingtonia has no innate enzyme activity, and therefore does not meet the strict definition of a carnivorous plant (as per Schlauer and others), why are not all the post related to that species placed on the "Quasi-carnivorous" board?

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I am not up on exactly what every plant produces but aren't there other plants that don't produce enzymes either? Like Heliamphora and S. purpurea?

    I think alot of people disagree that enzyme production is a necessary requirement. More importantly in my opinion, does the plant actively attract, trap, receive benefit from trapped prey remains? Darlingtonia is highly specialized to attract trap and kill insects specifically to obtain nutrients as they decompose. The other plants listed in quasi-carnivorous don't have any specialized methods to attract insects and their capture is not clearly purposefull to kill and obtain nutrients as a result.

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    Also, at least in the case of S. purpurea, the plant harbors bacteria that work to break down the carcasses. These bacteria provide the same function as ensymes (thought not produced by the plant).
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    S. purpurea at least produces some enzymes at the first stages of the pitcher's life; later the enzyme activity stops and other methods of breakdown occur. Darlingtonia also relies on bacteria and other organisms to break down prey into usable elements, but no inherent enzyme production has been demonstrated.

    I am not sure about the current thinking on Heliamphora. It seems likely that at least some produce enzymes.

    Roridula is not considered carnivorous in the strict sense, but it is clearly adapted to trap and use insects, albeit with the help of a commensal insect or spider. It is a good parallel for Darlingtonia "quasi-carnivorous" (or perhaps para-carnivorous is a better term). In both cases they shoud be discussed as not truely CP.
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    Suit yourself... Call them both quasi carnivorous if you want. To me Darlingtonia has evolved much more elaborate mechanisms to lure insects for the sole purpose of obtaining nutrients than Roridula. If it were not for the companion bugs on Roridula the sticky secretions would serve only as protection from insects eating the plant.
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    Check out this CPN article:Carnivory in Byblis revisited II: The Phenomenon of Symbiosis on Insect Trapping Plants by Siegfried Hartmeyer
    Personally, I consider Roridula to be carnivorous.

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    I think some people take the term carnivorous too seriously. It is true that some plants don't strictly fall under the "Webster's" definition of carnivorous, one must remember that the definition was developed with animals in mind. And while there is the order Carnivora in the animal kingdom, there is no such classification in the plant kingdom. It is simply an informal term for plants that obtain nourishment from captured animals. Perhaps a scientific term needs to be created to cover these plants, from the venus fly-traps to the cobra lilies, to the shepherd's purses. Maybe one has, that I just haven't heard yet. It certainly isn't 'carnivorous'.

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    To answer the genteman's, or gentlewoman's question:

    I'm not responsible for setting these boards up, but I assume that Darlingtonia posts are included with Sarracenia and Heliamphora because they are all pitcher plants in the Sarraceniaceae, and therefore logically placed in that subforum.

    Why Cephalotus is included, I don't know. But I would guess that it wouldn't get enough posts to justify its own sub-forum, and the pitcher plant forum is as logical as any to place it in.

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