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Thread: Pitcher Fluid Viscosity

  1. #1

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    Pitcher Fluid Viscosity

    I read the Wikipedia entry for Nepenthes inermis, which has such viscous fluid that when rainwater fills the nearly unlidded upper pitchers, they tip over so the rainwater can spill out but the fluid stays intact.

    It got me thinking about my own plants' fluid. Just an informal observation showed me my rafflesiana fluid was thicker than my x miralata hybrid fluid.

    Has anyone else noticed a difference in their plants' fluid?

    The only study on fluid viscosity I find on the internet is one that used N. rafflesiana. Has anyone done any more research on the subject? I'm starting to get obsessed with it!
    John

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    I've notice the fluid in my pitchers were a lot thicker. Probably to keep prey from leaving.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

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    hcarlton's Avatar
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    As all Nepenthes species produce their own liquid, most are thicker than water due to the addition of surfactants, enzymatic proteins, and other molecules to aid trapping and digestion. The specific thickness depends on what the plant needs it for. Broader-mouthed species tend to have thicker liquid than narrow-mouthed species as it's more likely an insect flies out without being drowned quickly or the liquid gets diluted by rain too easily.
    Everything has a reason, whether big or small. Never underestimate the power of what is or is not.
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    zcons's Avatar
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    In my experience, N. Jacquelineae and Jac hybrids have very viscous fluid. I find it to be pretty cool, haha.
    Have a wonderful day!
    - Zcons

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    Quote Originally Posted by hcarlton View Post
    Broader-mouthed species tend to have thicker liquid than narrow-mouthed species as it's more likely an insect flies out without being drowned quickly or the liquid gets diluted by rain too easily.
    That's an interesting point. My two adult plants corroborate it.

    Another thing I have noticed, most likely a coincidence with such a small sampling of specimens, is that the raffles with the thicker fluid has much thicker tendrils than the ones of the x miralata with the thinner fluid.
    John

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