Feed Venus Flytrap: Important Notes for Beginners

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Venus fly traps are a bit scary, but somehow very interesting. After all, you do not see every day how a plant eats insects. But how does that work?

Venus flytrap eat meat

Beetles, flies, woodlice, spiders and ants: If the size is right, the carnivorous venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is not particularly picky in its prey selection. As one says so beautifully: hunger drives it in. But how does this amazing carnivorous plant, also called carnivore, actually catch its prey and what do you have to watch out for when feeding?

The natural catch mechanism

Venus fly traps catch their prey with the help of leaves snapping shut. The trappers consist of the heavily thickened petiole and two oval to round shaped leaf blades. These are bent in the open state to the outside. In the center of the leaf blade are some fine hairy bristles. The edge is equipped with dense catch bristles.

Once the leaves are fully grown, they open and the insides take on an intense red color when exposed to sunlight. The venus flytrap thereby gives the insects a flower and further supports this impression by secreting a sweet, nectar-like fluid.

As soon as an insect touches the feel bristles twice within 20 seconds, the trap snaps. This works much like turning a soft contact lens and only takes a fraction of a second. The Fangborsten at the edge of the leaf blade engage in each other.

Once again lucky - little things are undesirable

Very small insects, for which the effort of digestion would not be worthwhile, can crawl into the open air between the bristles. Larger, exploitable insects are now literally trapped and digested in about ten days of process. When the digestion process is complete, the trap reopens and the unexploited remains, such as the chitin shell, fall to the ground. Each trap can open and close up to seven times. After that, the catch leaf dies and is replaced.

The feeding - not necessary, but exciting

Venus fly traps catch enough prey without your help. However, if you want to initiate the exciting spectacle yourself, there is nothing wrong with it. Please note the following tips:

do not do regular finger tests:

Do not touch the traps. Each snap on the finger means less snap for the plant to catch real prey. However, you may allow yourself a one-off test to satisfy understandable curiosity.

do not feed dead food:

Do not feed dead insects or leftovers from lunch. The trap also closes over a dead beetle or a piece of schnitzel. But if the movement is missing, the digestion does not stop. After one day at the latest, the trap reopens and the plant wastes a lot of energy uselessly.

do not feed very large or small insects:

The optimal prey of the Venus flytrap is about one-third as long as a trap. Very small insects will escape through the bristles. Very large insects, such as a stag beetle, are often strong enough to free themselves from the trap. In addition, the digestive capacity of each trap is limited. In the worst case, a large insect starts to rot and the mold attacks the plant. So be careful.

This is how a Venus flytrap captures its prey:

Video Board: Venus Flytrap Tissue Culture Time-Lapse.

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