A Venus Fly Trap in my house!
Can I have $10? Alex and I are buying a Venus Fly Trap!
After negotiating a fee for chores, J earned enough money to share joint custody of a Venus Fly Trap with his best friend and next door neighbor. He dutifully collected rain water for the pot to soak in and we looked forward to the weeks it resided with us to help quell our recent bout with fruit flies. In the fall the plant turned dark and "died". After reading that the Venus Fly Trap, like most perennials, goes dormant in the winter, we decided to try again this summer. So far, so good!
The food chain, photosynthesis and Venus Fly Traps...
I don't know much about Venus Fly Traps, but they come up in discussion every semester in my Environmental Science Lab when we review food chains and trophic levels, so I thought it was time to learn a bit more....
Plants are producers since they produce their own food- sugar, for energy through the process of photosynthesis. (They can't walk to McDonald's and buy a Big Mac!)
Is it possible for a species to occupy more than 1 trophic level? Yes - bears are a great example! They are primary consumers on the 2nd trophic level when they eat berries and they are secondary consumers on the 3rd trophic level when they eat fish!
How about a Venus Fly Trap? Aren't they producers AND consumers?? Yes!
All living things need food for energy but they also need other nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, to build proteins and other molecules to keep their bodies running. When bacteria break down dead plants and animals, they release nitrogen and phosphorous into the soil making the nutrients available to plants.
Facts about Venus Fly Traps...
Venus Fly Traps live in an area where the soil has very few nutrients due to the high acidity of the soil, so the soil is not conducive to the growth of bacteria that break down dead plants and animals. Venus Fly Traps have evolved to produce their own enzymes which break down insects to retrieve their nitrogen and phosphorous!
The short video below shows Venus Fly Traps in their native environment and discusses how Venus Fly Traps and other carnivorous plants use insects and other animals as nutrients.
And it shows Venus Fly Traps in action!!
Venus Fly Traps are pretty cool! So cool that a lot of people want to own one, and some have even wrongfully claimed that eating them will cure cancer!
Vulnerable and Poached!
Venus Fly Traps are native to only a small area of North and South Carolina and they are a vulnerable species due to loss of habitat and poaching.
Did I contribute to the precarious state of the Venus Fly Trap by purchasing one for my son??
I don't think so... There are a number of nurseries that grow Venus Fly Traps from seeds and cuttings, such as http://www.joelscarnivorousplants.com/home.
If you see a Venus Fly Trap for a really good deal - less than $15, please explore further to be sure it wasn't obtained illegally.
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Venus Fly Trap
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