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Thread: Housefly--good dinner guest?

  1. #1

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    Unhappy

    Hi again!

    A housefly got into my domicile, entered the terrarium, bulled its way through two sundews, and set up shop. The next day, it drank nectar from three nep pitchers and flung itself down the largest, never to be seen again.

    Is this good or bad for the plant? I have heard that houseflies bring disease and fungus, and I am concerned that I will lose my best pitcher, or worse that the darn insect has covered my plants with pathogens.

    BTW, from my observations it would appear that the "drunken" state induced by the nectar does not wear off. I think it does permanent nervous tissue damage. I would not be suprised if it didn't make the animals ravenously hungry/thirsty as well, perhaps even making the bath of enzymatic water desirable.

    Has anyone looked into this? Very specific behavioral manipulation of prey by simple organisms is not unknown in nature. There is a predatory fungus that causes host spiders to climb trees just before they die, so that it might spread its spores more broadly.

    Nothing suprises me about Nature anymore. No fun on a date, let me tell you.

    Steve
    I'd rather have a butterwort in front of me than a...wait, ummm...I'll come up with something...

  2. #2

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    I'm always feeding my Nep's houseflies and as yet, haven't had any problems.

    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]
    Paul O'Keeffe.

  3. #3

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    Exclamation

    I don't think that the nectar on most nepenthes plants does any damage to the insects that feed on it. If it did, I would think that nearly every fly or ant that came in contact with it would be eaten. In Nepenthes of borneo, Clarke says that Nep pitchers are extremely ineffective traps since the majority of the creatures that visit them don't get caught. This can help the plant since colonizing insects, like ants and termites, will lead a trail of their kind back to the pitchers once they are found, which would not happen if everything that came in contact with the plant were caught.

    Joel©
    http://homepage.mac.com/mindmaze128/...lood forum.jpg
    Joel Martínez
    San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA

  4. #4

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    Quote (mindmaze128 @ July 31 2002,01:34)
    I don't think that the nectar on most nepenthes plants does any damage to the insects that feed on it. If it did, I would think that nearly every fly or ant that came in contact with it would be eaten. In Nepenthes of borneo, Clarke says that Nep pitchers are extremely ineffective traps since the majority of the creatures that visit them don't get caught. This can help the plant since colonizing insects, like ants and termites, will lead a trail of their kind back to the pitchers once they are found, which would not happen if everything that came in contact with the plant were caught.

    Joel©[/QUOTE]
    And there is also the idea that the plants actually keep prey insects alive in the dry season, right? Killer nectar wouldn't do that.

    Still, the fly was not acting at all normally, and this only got worse with increased exposure. After a while, it could not do anything but walk from pitcher to pitcher, looking frenziedly for more over every mm of the now-dry peristomes. It couldn't fly anymore about a hour before it fell in, though wing spasms indicated attempts.

    It was also plain that it preferred the ventricosa nectar, but once that ran out, it was willing to go for the Finn that finally ate it.

    I've seen ants fall into a pitcher and climb back out alive, but they are not exactly dynamos afterwords and usually end up inside the plant or its neighbor. Conclusive study of this question would follow the insect and see what it does, and how long it lasts. I doubt that the research exists.

    Steve
    I'd rather have a butterwort in front of me than a...wait, ummm...I'll come up with something...

  5. #5

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    If I am not mistaken ants are pretty strong, and they should be able to climb out the pitcher even if the hairs are pointed down.
    \"The plant grew. It\'s resoruces were taken away. He was forced to evolve. He struggled and pushed and grew, until finally one day it sprouted a trap. A bug landed in, he was a little to noisy and got himself locked in. The plant now had resoruces, and he grew happy as a VFT for years.\"

  6. #6

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    Quote (NOLU @ July 30 2002,11:57)
    I'm always feeding my Nep's houseflies and as yet, haven't had any problems.

    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img] [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img][/QUOTE]
    Thanks, NOLU.
    I'd rather have a butterwort in front of me than a...wait, ummm...I'll come up with something...

  7. #7
    Nepenthes Specialist nepenthes gracilis's Avatar
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    Trapsrus, just to let you know Nepenthes pitchers have no downward pointing hairs in them, those are Sarracenia.

    In my expierence you can feed just about anything you can get you forceps on to a Nepenthes pitcher. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img] I have fed mine

    Hornets (BEE careful [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img] )
    Ants (lots of variety)
    Crickets ( Neps like these alot)
    Spiders (ocassional snack)
    Houseflys (love them)
    Mealworms (primarily winter food)
    Slugs (occasional)
    Caterpillars (VERY seldom)
    Numorous other food too.

  8. #8
    nich
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    Arrow

    I bought a tub of freeze-dried tubifex worms for my nepenthes. The tub contains lots of small dried cubes of these worms, and I just break a few small pieces off periodically & drop them into the pitchers. I guess it must be as good a food as any for them & nothing bad has happened so far! It's also a lot easier than catching live insects for them [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]

    Nick.

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