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Thread: Primitive carnivory analyzed

  1. #9

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    It sure looks like it’s digesting that fruit fly butt. I’ll have to see if the fluid dissolves gelatin. Right now I’m waiting to see if there is a growth spurt after feeding. You can see one sundew in the cup; there is actually two. One I fed and the other not...

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    Lotsa blue bluemax's Avatar
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    Very interesting stuff! There are one or two other gland-covered genera/species that I have wondered about as well. I can see where stalked glands would be an effective defence against small insects. It also seems easy for an evolutionary leap to occur enabling the plants that have them to absorb the rotting remains as nutrients or better, to absorb the excreted waste of predatory insects that eat those captured insects. Developing digestive enzymes seems a much tougher development. It all seems so unlikely to me but there it is in the plants we know and love.

    I am looking forward to seeing how the monkey flower plant does with the gelatin.
    - Mark

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    hcarlton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluemax View Post
    Very interesting stuff! There are one or two other gland-covered genera/species that I have wondered about as well. I can see where stalked glands would be an effective defence against small insects. It also seems easy for an evolutionary leap to occur enabling the plants that have them to absorb the rotting remains as nutrients or better, to absorb the excreted waste of predatory insects that eat those captured insects. Developing digestive enzymes seems a much tougher development. It all seems so unlikely to me but there it is in the plants we know and love.

    I am looking forward to seeing how the monkey flower plant does with the gelatin.
    The enzymes may not really be that huge a leap; every cell produces a battery of enzymes already for various functions necessary for everyday life, including various ones that break apart proteins or nitrogenous compounds etc. etc., so what would really be needed is just modification of cells to excrete and absorb specific groups of those enzymes in higher quantity so they can act on compounds outside the cell/plant and then be retrieved.
    Everything has a reason, whether big or small. Never underestimate the power of what is or is not.
    There is far more to everything than meets the eye.
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    Thanks for your interest and thoughts guys. I fed my plants more stuff. There does seem to be digestion going on, but I cannot really tell if it is by bacteria. Also, there is a growth spurt following these forced feedings. I have seen plants in the wild capture insects on their own as well. However, I consider the case of this plant to be merely accidental carnivory: The most primitive level of carnivory.

    Bluemax, please do let us know what you learn from species found around your area. This one I have growing now is not very dewy. Another I have grown, Mimulus / Erythranthe tilingii, is super dewy. Springtails (tiny algae eating soil insects) introduced to the growing container were readily captured. E. tilingii is very closely related to E. nasuta. Through hybridization and selection, and maybe a little genetic modification, we could accentuate the natural pre-adaptations and create a new carnivorous plant. Or, maybe there is already a Monkey Flower out there which is truly carnivorous waiting to be found.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Primitive carnivory analyzed-tilingii-fed-4-11-17-jpg  

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    Lotsa blue bluemax's Avatar
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    I will keep my eyes open. I am out in the field often and now I will be looking for monkey carnivores.
    - Mark

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