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View Full Version : Didn't Think This Out Before I Bought Them...(Wingless Fruitflies)



BigDon
2011-Sep-14, 11:35 PM
I went and bought a jar/breeder thingy of wingless fruitflies to feed to my sundews on an impulse buy. (The bloodworm trick still works swimmingly so there was no need.)

But I now have an issue of how to feed them to the plants without getting the damn things all over the house. (They can climb glass.)

Might have to pre-drown them or something. It's just that I've discovered that being wet counteracts a sundews ability to capture and entrap prey items. If you mist sundews just prior to feeding them it washes off the muscilage and it seems to paralyse them for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Haven't read that anywhere else.

Maybe a short stay in the freezer. Long enough to kill but not long enough to dehydrate them.

And I have a lighting problem I have that I haven't read about on any of the carnivorous plant forums.

Twice now I pulled the metal, three fixture lamp NEXT to the carnivorous plant terrarium down on my own head. Both times it was as I was reaching for a dropped item, (forceps or eyedropper) and my arm gets caught in the power cord. Freakin' thing weighs about fifteen pounds. Whacked me hard enough it changed my sense of smell for about twenty minutes each time..

ABR.
2011-Sep-14, 11:49 PM
How about a separate feeding jar? That is, place your sundews in a larger container and then shake a few flies into it. Close the lid until the sundews have wiped out the flies.

Fazor
2011-Sep-15, 12:23 AM
I was thinking you could carefully pull off the flies' legs one by one, while saying things like "You VILL tell me of your zecrets, Dr Bond!" and "Vhere iz ze laser devize?!"

. . . or is that something that only I would do?

BigDon
2011-Sep-15, 01:13 AM
How about a separate feeding jar? That is, place your sundews in a larger container and then shake a few flies into it. Close the lid until the sundews have wiped out the flies.

Going with the "bowl as a moat" method. Sundews need to be in standing water anyway. I'll just put the sundew to be fed in a salad bowl with a couple inchs of DI in it and shake out a few flys.

Oh ABR. I wanted to say...

You know it's pretty bad when the only place to get the parts to make an aspirator is the local head shop. I couldn't find a rubber stopper with two tubes through it anywhere else. Though I just now stumbled on the "pooter" type design while double checking the spelling of aspirator in wiki. :)

Need an efficient way to capture ants.

Luckmeister
2011-Sep-15, 02:42 AM
Wingless flies? Well, I guess if we can have massless particles.... :think:

Usher
2011-Sep-15, 03:03 AM
Oh my... sorry BigDon, but your first post has to be the funniest thing I've read on this forum.

I've found that about a half-hour in the freezer works pretty well on wasps; they aren't moving after that and still seem pretty "fresh" (i.e., juicy). Might scale that down for flies...

ABR.
2011-Sep-15, 03:47 AM
Going with the "bowl as a moat" method. Sundews need to be in standing water anyway. I'll just put the sundew to be fed in a salad bowl with a couple inchs of DI in it and shake out a few flys.

Ah, an even better solution. Good luck.


Oh ABR. I wanted to say...

You know it's pretty bad when the only place to get the parts to make an aspirator is the local head shop. I couldn't find a rubber stopper with two tubes through it anywhere else. Though I just now stumbled on the "pooter" type design while double checking the spelling of aspirator in wiki. :)

Need an efficient way to capture ants.

I've had the same problem, except with black lights! Remember the place where you got the "fiveceps"? They have a variety of pooters there. I have a source for even better ones, if you're interested, but they are pretty expensive.

I've been given the parts for really, and I mean, REALLY good aspirators: metal tubing, soldered wire mesh, etc. I can't find a proper collecting tube and I still have to dig up stoppers, too. One of these days....

geonuc
2011-Sep-15, 07:29 AM
. . . or is that something that only I would do?

We can only hope. :p

BigDon
2011-Sep-16, 03:03 PM
Looking at the wingless fruit flies I get the species name, melanogaster, now. It's not as obvious when they have wings.


So the majority of the sundews and both pitchers are in a twenty gallon aquarium with a nice light hood and about 2 to 3 inchs of standing water in it. I scooted the plants back some from the sides of the tank and shook out some of the flies onto the sundews pots. Most wandered about from pot to pot.

The big winner catch-wise was the Sarracenia pupurea, (pitcher plant). The flies follow the ant lure up to the peristome then once they walk out to where the downward pointed hairs are they're hosed. Argentine ants seem to move freely through the hairs by the way, nor do their feet seem to pick up the wax scales that clog the feet of other insects. (Edit: On mature pitchers. Less than fully mature pitchers the hairs seem to be fine enough to direct the tiny ants to their doom.)

On the other hand fruit flies seem to be made to order as lunch for pitcher plants. Every one that walked around on the peristome and operculum ended up in the pool.

I have a small set up on my desk that can hold a single plant at a time and so I rotate out the various sundews so I can look at them individually. At the moment I have a Drosera aliciae in the solo spot and in one corner of its pot is a little black spider.

Now when I was keeping a tank of Steotodans (cobweb spiders) I learned it takes only about eight days for a spider that size to starve to death. I'm not sure what she was catching if anything, but after I added the flies and one stumbled into her web and was instantly pounced upon, she was still so ravenous she saw another one outside of her web, left her web, chased it down and grabbed it lifted it up and carried it back to her web where she just stuck it in.

This morning she is so engorged she's gone from shiney black to a golden translucent brown. And both fruit flies are seriously shriviled. When she gets big enough to capture safely I'll move her out of doors.

Fazor
2011-Sep-16, 03:38 PM
We have a giant cobweb spider who's made a big web in our kitchen window (outside, thankfully! I hate spiders.) She was going to town on a fly as I left this morning.

If I wasn't running late for work, I would have taken a picture as until this morning, I've only seen her out on the web at night, and with the glass of the window, I haven't been able to get a decent shot of 'er.

Trebuchet
2011-Sep-17, 01:32 AM
Come in to my parlor, said the spider to the fly!

Somehow, I've just remembered spending about 20 minutes watching an epic battle between a fairly large spider and a yellowjacket that had blundered into its web. Not the normal sort of harmless prey. Unfortunately this was about 1965 and I can't remember the outcome.

TJMac
2011-Sep-17, 02:06 PM
Come in to my parlor, said the spider to the fly!

Somehow, I've just remembered spending about 20 minutes watching an epic battle between a fairly large spider and a yellowjacket that had blundered into its web. Not the normal sort of harmless prey. Unfortunately this was about 1965 and I can't remember the outcome.

I remember watching, as a kid, an epic battle between a spider and wasp. Time distorts memory, I expect, but my memory is of a large gray spider in the dirt under our swingset. It was not moving, but gave off that aura of HIGH ALERT. The wasp was one of the thin flitty type, black and shiny. (as opposed to the heavier bodied wasps that seem much more aggressive)

Wasp would come close, then flit away, come close, flit away... Spider was totally cool and composed, didn't react to any feints, would only shift now and then. One brief mixup, to which we thought would end it one way or another, and then they broke apart. Wasp now seems reluctant to pursue the matter. Actually leaves for a moment, and returns just as we were giving up the watch. Except this time, we barely had time to renew our attention, she just comes in and ZAP, faster than we could see, nails the spider. As far as I know, spidey senses were not working.

We watched wasp drag spider off with much effort, and when we told my dad the story, his only comment was, "why didnt you just stand on it and get rid of it?"

TJ

DonM435
2011-Sep-22, 04:12 PM
Looking at the wingless fruit flies I get the species name, melanogaster, now. It's not as obvious when they have wings.

...


That's Drosophila melanogaster ... i.e., "dew-loving and black-bellied."

That species is used all the time in genetics research. Only four sets of chromosomes, I think, and so relatively easy to map. Various types of nonfuctional wings are recessive traits that can be exploited, as you have demonstrated.

BigDon
2011-Sep-22, 08:09 PM
Oh my... sorry BigDon, but your first post has to be the funniest thing I've read on this forum.

I've found that about a half-hour in the freezer works pretty well on wasps; they aren't moving after that and still seem pretty "fresh" (i.e., juicy). Might scale that down for flies...

So I went with the "Usher method". A half hour on the timer and they are all dead and not the least bit frozen. Still have to bring them back up to room temp any way.

Word of warning! I have a really cold freezer and I used a glass jar the first time. When I pulled the jar out into the 85F kitchen, the jar creaked so alarmingly from thermal stress I came within a nerve impulse of throwing it away from my oh so tender flesh.

I've seen glass jars shatter from thermal stress before and it's NEVER a pretty picture when it happens in somebody's hand. I've seen that one.

edit: to remove horrble story

That kind of thing sticks with you.

I use a large ziplock bag now. Even easier to pour the flies into with no escapees.

I'm also fighting hard not to set up a small colony of fruitflies on my desk. I'm sure there is nothing new I could come up with.

As carnivorous plant food goes, fruitflies are rendered obsolete by the bloodworm blood method. (Less work and better results beats the opposite most of the time unless you pay for the good ad agency.)

On the other hand...

I sure wish I had these things when I kept:

anoles

firebellied toads

mantids, young

cobweb spiders

solpugids, local

ringnecked snakes

chorus frogs

Right now the big winners are the inhabitants of my soft water tank. The live bearers (guppys) in my salty alkaline tanks didn't have much use for the freshly killed fruitflies, mainly it seems because their mouths aren't the right shape to take them in easily.

My harlequin rasboras on the other hand go absolutely berserk for them. And their enthusiasm for them only seems to grow. The tetras are only slightly less of a fan of them and my Indian pea puffers go "Meh, they're so-so, give us bloodworms!"

After the freezer treatment I put a cup of tank water in the ziplock bag, shake it up so the flies have broken the surface tension, then pour them in the tank.

Barring any dramatic color increase in my harlies I don't think I'll get another jar unless I buy a new group of firebellied toads.

One draw back of having accute high registry hearing is you can hear the mating calls of the firebellied toads. Which sounds exactly like your upstairs neighbors are bringing the procreative act to a noisy finish on a bed with creaky springs, but still has that directionless quality frog calls have, so you didn't look right at the tank.

When the males I had first started singing, which they do through their noses without a throat pouch, another point in my defense, I went a week and a half thinking it *was* my upstairs neighbors to the point I was going around the house seriously thinking, "Jeez mon, give the poor woman a break!" while looking at the ceiling. I thought somebodies viagra prescription was in and he was trying to make up for lost time or something. But a marathon every night for ten days?

Then I finally caught the males in the act. You see, my toads liked me so much they would stop whatever they were doing and anticipate a feeding if I sat and parked in front of their tank. And it was about that time I realized my neighbors stopped creaking the bedsprings whenever I fed the toads.

After ruling out a hidden camera I sat all day in front of the tank and watched them do their creaking springs song. Every exhalation their little nostril flare and as the tempo increases they have to close their eyes and use their whole bodies to get out the last four or five notes.

DonM435
2011-Sep-24, 12:12 AM
When I taught genetics labs and had to raise the fruit flies, I used to bring extras home and feed the larvae to my pet terrapins. They seemed to like it, and there weren't any flying bugs to get loose in the house.

TJMac
2011-Sep-24, 03:39 PM
Ahhhh....

BigDon's posts always make me want to start up tanks, even tho I have not the time or inclination to put all the necessary work into keeping them up. I never wanted a toad tank before, probably still dont want a spider tank, and now I miss my three, 75 gallon freshwater tanks. I especially miss my Black Ghost Knife (Apteronotus albifrons)

TJ

HenrikOlsen
2011-Sep-24, 05:27 PM
I get the same urge and each time end up spending a couple of hours on the net looking up fishes and plants and planning a setup.

This time around I ended up wanting to make a 14 gallon tank set up as a black water, low-light biotope with a small school of Chili Rasboras (Boraras brigittae), I was thinking Java Ferns and Java Moss on the bottom and back and Duckweed on the surface for shade.

BigDon
2011-Sep-24, 06:35 PM
TJ, have you kept fire bellies before? They are aquatic toads so you have to keep them like frogs. Unlike my Frogzilla who is a terrestrial frog that I have to keep like a toad.

In other news...

Now I know why God gave poor fruitflies wings. Outside "in the wild" those things are smoos. (You'll have to Google "smoo" on your own. It's a good read.)

Yeah, I put about 25 out in the yard. Last one made it an hour. Even worse off than aphids on the ground as the fruitflies don't have a truce with the local argentine ants. Though the ants only got three. All of which were caught due to a bad jump landing them in an already excited group. The ants aren't big pursuit predators and the fluit flies are capable of one or two little three inch flights with their stubby wing nubs when they are panicked. Jumping spiders and two or three kinds of small flying things that would just snatch them and leave before I could register what they were got most of them.

Fruit flies do the opposite of seek cover. They seem to like a good veiw all the way around them so climb to the tops of the grass blades and small shrubs which is great when you have wings, but just says "Come eat me!" if you don't.

DonM435
2011-Sep-24, 11:55 PM
Yeah, Drosophila is phototropic. You could depend upon them moving towards a light source when setting up breeding experiments. They're also attracted to the odors of fermentation, i.e., alcohol and related chemicals. I understand that they're a problem for those folk who distill their own whiskey.

TJMac
2011-Sep-25, 12:41 AM
Nope, Don, always had fish, always freshwater, never salt, though I considered it. (I saw a foot long lionfish at feeding time once, in a dedicated 55 gal tank and totally promised myself I would have one) The toads sound rather interesting, I assume they are live feeders only. (I need to start researching)

I'm actually sitting here trying to figure out where I have room for one, that's not completely out of the way.

TJ

HenrikOlsen
2011-Sep-25, 07:01 AM
Yeah, Drosophila is phototropic. You could depend upon them moving towards a light source when setting up breeding experiments. They're also attracted to the odors of fermentation, i.e., alcohol and related chemicals. I understand that they're a problem for those folk who distill their own whiskey.
I expect that's because they mainly feed on the yeasts that grow on the things people leave out, not on the things themselves, which is why you only really get them in massive amounts if you leave things out for a while.

DonM435
2011-Sep-25, 02:18 PM
I first reckoned that "Drosophila" meant they loved garbage, although I later learned that the name referred to dew, not "dross."

(Does this represent convergent evolution in both etymology and entomology?)


Edit: And, of course, the Sundew, other species we're discussing here, is genus Drosera.

BigDon
2011-Sep-26, 04:41 PM
Nope, Don, always had fish, always freshwater, never salt, though I considered it. (I saw a foot long lionfish at feeding time once, in a dedicated 55 gal tank and totally promised myself I would have one) The toads sound rather interesting, I assume they are live feeders only. (I need to start researching)

I'm actually sitting here trying to figure out where I have room for one, that's not completely out of the way.

TJ

TJ, my old fish mentor, who was on the board of directors of Steinhardt Aquarium, had a huge black volitan lion in a dedicated 200 gallon in his livingroom, (which was above the fish store, so he had his employees clean and feed it.)

Put in a bid to see if it was the largest in captivity. Three years later we hear back that his fish was the third largest in captivity. Two, both in Europe, one in Germany and another in...where do Danes live again? Well, there. were bigger.

He was the size of a small grouper.

He was well behaved but had the uncomfortable habit of checking you out closely when you were cleaning the algae off the inside of his tank. Made a body nervous. (but it's a friendly rattlesnake!)

And I can't risk a salt water tank anymore. Aquired a horrible allergy to all things cnidarian.

I always wanted a Porites coral tank. Even learned to keep them on somebody else's dime.