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Thread: Are these bugs bad for VFT??

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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    Hi guys,

    In my res, on the window....daily I see atleast 4 of these. they look sooo daunting. One day...I made on of them fall down...opened the window...tried to hold it with a tissue....was disgusted and let it go. I suddenly smelt a strange odor. I smelt it close and it was like a strong concentrated dose of something like acetylene or ethylene..not sure...but I know I smelt that before in a chemistry lab.

    I could never find enough info on it. Finally once I got one and fed it to one of my old traps in my big B-52. It seemed to enjoy it as it is now the fastest growing plant in my setup. 4 leaves have came up since then. This was approximately 3-4 weeks ago.

    Today...right now.....I noticed more of them....once again...daring ahead...I used my new foreceps to hold one's leg and put it in the trap of my typical. It close shut in 0.5 sec. however, it was too big. To avoid loosing the trap ...I put it inside the 1 and a half inch magnificent trap of my B-52 which comfortabily held it. I happened to again hold it by the abdomen this time and once again....I was hit and the whole terrarium has that strange strong smell.

    Last time...that was a old trap....the trap blackened...however...it was sealed and probably the plant got some juices from the insect. I opened for a autopsy and noticed a half digested bug. Not as fully as other flies and stuff...ants are normally all gone.

    Now this was my biggest trap...its like the plant produced this to just fit this insect .. do you think it is ok?? is this insect harmful to the plant?

    here is the image to reveal the impressive yet daunting bug.

    its kinda darker but looks like this:: size 1 inch to a inch and a half. the one I fed is an inch.



    description: This sap-sucking Leaf-Footed Bug from Southern Brazil shows it's swollen femora hind legs. A few tropical Corčid have elaborate tibial leaf structures as part of their modified hind legs. This one is relatively conservative although also has spines at the tips of it's pronotum. These true bugs are capable of emitting a scent from a couple of glands on the thorax. Notice the membranous patch of the fore wing. Although most feed on sap, a few are predaceous towards other insects.

    exact pic::


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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    You wouldnt believe, I actually did research and found chemicals released by the bugs. it is mostly 6-8 carbon unsaturated alcohols like octenol or hexenol.

    I can post the paper if anyone is interested. I get access to many journal papers at uni.

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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    poop man! sorry for the swearing....the chemicals DO SEEM to affect the leaves. The closed leaf of the typical from which I removed the BUG....(The way I removed it...is with tweezers...squeezing the abdomen...which probably stimulated a great release of chemicals into the trap.)..I just saw the trap which is stil closed....after 2 hrs...and the left side i.e., the side its abdomen was facing has a brown discoloration kinda like a burn or acid release on tissue.

    From the B-52...the trap seems to have sealed. I am expecting a dead trap soon. too bad...this was my biggest trap so far. Well....if things go as before I should be rewarded with more traps though.

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    Aklys joossa's Avatar
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    Hey, Vraev. First of all thanks for the great sig you made for me! =)

    Ok, about your question:
    The general rule of thumb is that the bug has to be roughly about 1/3 the size of the trap that is going to take it. Since you are growing in a terrarium, you must apply this rule because you are the one feeding the traps and you don't want to lose many traps because of the size of the bug.
    Also the bug should not:
    -be fuzzy; moths
    -have a very hard exposkeleton; beetles, pill bugs, etc.
    -be able to eat through the trap; certain caterpillars
    I have read and found through experiance that these types of insects usually cause traps to die.
    There are more general rules out there.

    You also might want to consider:
    1.These are plants and that they produce there own food through photosynthesis. Although a regualr feeding will make them more healthy and produce bigger traps, VFT's can go for months without catching/digesting and meal if conditions are good. So, don't stress over feeding them.
    2. It is almost time for dormancy. If you are planning to put your plants through winter dormancy, then I suggest you stop feeding them. If you are reducing temps. and photoperiod for your VFTs, which you should be doing this time of year if you are growing them in a terrarium, you should start to notice signs of reduced rate of growth. In their native envionment, the plants usually don't catch insects in late fall and winter.

    Here is a link with further info on feeding:
    http://www.sarracenia.com/faq/faq2160.html

    Good luck!

    PS- I would not reccomend you feeding the bugs you are finding. Since they release chemicals, they can seriously damage your flyrtap.
    -Joel from Southern California


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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    yeah.....the trap in which the chemical spilled in the typical is dying ..slowly srivelling off.

    the B52 is sealed though. The insect is inside. Should I pull it open and remove it

    I already put 2 VFT's in the fridge for dormancy.

    The 4 remaining are fresh out of TC ...so they are still growing fine. I plan on skipping dormancy for them this yr. However, whenever they show signs ...I will put them in as well.

    The dentate and greendragon which I put in the fridge were both producing smaller traps at a lower rate than others. So I just removed them...washed with water....then wrapped them (bulbs) with damp sphagnum and bagged them.

    I did not cut the leaves off...becos the mcmaster greenhouse person who has 10 yr old VFT's told not to do it as it promotes fungal infection through the wounds.

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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    ps: Np...regarding the sig.

    good to know more ppl.

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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    btw...is it ok to feed VFT the red aquarium water worms that we see in many pet stores?

    maybe fold it enough to fit the trap?

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    Aklys joossa's Avatar
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    Hmm. I've never tried worms, so I'm not sure.

    Are the worms sold alive?? Remember if the organism is not moving in the trap after initial closure, then the trap is very likely to re-open without initiating the digestion mode.

    You can try to experiment to see what will happen, but if you don't want to risk losing traps then don't risk it or wait 'till someone that knows about worms posts a response.

    Also, like I said before, don't stress too much about feeding your plants, instead make sure you are providing them with proper light intensity and a proper photoperiod.
    -Joel from Southern California


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