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Thread: Sarracenia, actual trap mechanism

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    cp-connection's Avatar
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    Sarracenia, actual trap mechanism

    I've always assumed that prey slips and falls into Sarracenia. Recently I've watched a little closer. I have observed flies eating nectar while on the underside of a S. leucophylla lid. As they try to fly away they look like they get "sucked" into the trap.

    Has anyone else observed this or know of a study done on this subject?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cp-connection View Post
    I've always assumed that prey slips and falls into Sarracenia. Recently I've watched a little closer. I have observed flies eating nectar while on the underside of a S. leucophylla lid. As they try to fly away they look like they get "sucked" into the trap.

    Has anyone else observed this or know of a study done on this subject?
    There is a theory that the beating of an insect wings creates an area of low pressure inside the funnel that keeps the prey trapped. I've never heard of it acting like a vacuum and sucking the insects in.
    "There is no pain as great as being alive,
    no burden heavier than that of conscious life. "
    -Rubén Darío-

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brokken View Post
    There is a theory that the beating of an insect wings creates an area of low pressure inside the funnel that keeps the prey trapped. I've never heard of it acting like a vacuum and sucking the insects in.
    I've heard that as well but do not believe it for this reason. I have seen flies being caught, fall to the bottom of the pitcher and fly out. Note that there was prior prey in the pitcher but I do not believe enough to cancel out a funnel effect. As for Josh's notes, maybe gravity affects the fly as it loosens it's grip on the lid; then the fly tries to fly away negating the dropping effect. Just a crazy theory

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    I find pitchers that are full of tiny fruit flies that can't fly out. I can't remember, does Schnell talk about this in his book?

    My observation is that lid size and shape play a really important role in trapping the fly. Something about taking off from an upside-down position and getting too near the convection zone area of the lip...

    Maybe bending a lid back with twist ties or cutting it off entirely would make the pitcher catch less bugs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brokken View Post
    There is a theory that the beating of an insect wings creates an area of low pressure inside the funnel that keeps the prey trapped. I've never heard of it acting like a vacuum and sucking the insects in.

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    i too have heard of the "vacuum phenomena" of beating wings. and coincidentally, tonight I heard a loud buzzing and located a x catesbaei that had a yellow jacket trying to fly out, unsuccessfully. it was a very lg. leaf, with what seemed like plenty of room for it to just fly out, but the hornet was like stuck in limbo about 2/3 of the way up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarracenia View Post
    i too have heard of the "vacuum phenomena" of beating wings. and coincidentally, tonight I heard a loud buzzing and located a x catesbaei that had a yellow jacket trying to fly out, unsuccessfully. it was a very lg. leaf, with what seemed like plenty of room for it to just fly out, but the hornet was like stuck in limbo about 2/3 of the way up.
    I have heard wasp trying to fly out of my judith hindle, but i always look back into the pitcher and stare at it's unsussesful eyes. my cousin got scared cause she thought a bee was gonna try to sting herr.

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