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Carnivorous Plants March 24, 2009

Posted by woodtree0587 in Uncategorized.

Who here is interested in Carnivorous plants (sometimes called insectivorous plants)? These plants are so called Carnivorous because they derive most of their nutrients from trapping and consuming animals or protozoan’s (microorganisms classified as unicellular, or many celled organisms such as eukaryotes), these are typically insects and other arthropods (spiders (arachnids) and crustacean like creatures (shell fish)). These plants appear to be adapted to growing in places where the soil is thin or poor in nutrients, especially nitrogen, for example acidic bogs or rocky outcroppings.

It is thought that “true carnivory” in plants evolved in at least ten separate lineages of plants, and that these are now represented by more than a dozen genera in five families. These include but not limited to about 625 species that attract and trap prey produce digestive enzymes, and then absorb the resulting available nutrients. Additionally, over 300 protocarnivorous plant species (plants that have the ability to trap prey, but cannot absorb or digest the prey) in several different genera show some but not all the characteristics of ‘true carnivorous’ plants.

There are five basic trapping mechanisms found, that carnivorous plants use.

1.       Pitfall traps (more commonly known as pitcher plants) trap prey in a rolled leaf that contains a pool of digestive enzymes or bacteria.


2.       Flypaper traps use a sticky mucilage (sticky substance thought to aid in water storage, example sundew)


3.       Snap traps utilize rapid leaf movements (such as the Venus Flytrap)



4.       Bladder traps suck in prey with a bladder that generates an internal vacuum (such as Bladderworts)



5.       Lobster-pot traps force prey to move towards a digestive organ with inward-pointing hairs (such as corkscrew plants)


Not all of these methods are active because it depends on whether there is movement of the plant to help aid capture and retention of prey.

Carnivorous plants are wide spread but like the exotic orchids are rare to come by. Their habitats are almost entirely restricted to bogs where soil nutrients are very limiting, but where sunlight and water are readily available. They can also be found near and around dessert outcroppings where water isn’t as readily available but where sun is.

Sun is the source of energy, but in order to produce and carry out energy the plants obtain mainly Nitrogen and Phosphorus (both used in the plants of reproduction and metabolism functions). Plants have also been known to get Potassium and Calcium for cell structure and strength.

Without the adaptations that carnivorous plants have obtained they could not survive in the environments of which they live. Also I personally think the world would be a slightly duller place without these fascinating plants.


Here is a Pretty Awesome Video that I was able to findon YouTube:



Asian Longhorn Beetle March 24, 2009

Posted by woodtree0587 in Insects.
1 comment so far

I was asked to do a small study on the Asian LongHorn Beetle (ALB) for my Arboroculture class a few years back and to say the least this is a very interesting beetle. So most of my information I was able to obtain mostly through the University of Vermont mainly due to the fact that the ALB has been found in the New England region. However I have added onto the bottom of this blog of not just the UV information but some other sites that are interesting to read as well.



Asian Longhorn Beetle: Description

Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky) or more commonly known as the Asian Longhorn Beetle (ALB) is about an inch long and is of dark colors, mainly a glossy or shiny coal black color with white spots (University of Vermont). Females are larger than males and have shorter antennae. Males tend to have large antennae and a sleeker smaller bullet shaped body. ALB has more than likely been introduced into New York, Chicago, and New Jersey through shipping yards. An exotic insect from the Asian areas; ALB now threatens many of the United States native trees.


Asian Longhorn Beetle: Left - Male, Right - Female

Asian Longhorn Beetle: Left - Male, Right - Female


The ALB has aimed its appetite mostly for Maple (Acer) species, such as; Boxelder, Norway, red, silver and Sugar Maple. The ALB is most commonly found on these tree species, however ALB has also been found on these species of trees too; Alders, birches, elms, horsechestnut, popular, mulberry, black locust, and willows (Pest Alert). Sugar maples in China are used as trap trees on plantations. ALBs are attracted to sugar maples more than other maple species. The beetles are then treated within these infested trees or the trees are cut down and removed (Koday’s).




Found in the United States and thought to be high interest areas for infestations of Exotic Longhorn Beetles (beetles NOT native to North America).



Asian Longhorn beetles leave large almost dime sized holes in the hosts’ trunk. The larvas eat the heartwood of the host and girdle it from the inside out. Females leave large gapping oviposition wounds in the trunk which in time can leave the host susceptible to other insect or pathogen infections. Healthy hosts will ooze out of the open wounds and try to force the insects out. Stressed hosts will become more stressed if attached by the beetles. The beetles have been known to attack very healthy trees forcing the healthy trees into decline, eventually killing the host, already stressed trees die much faster.


Warranting Management:

IF a tree has been infested with ALB then the situation warrants management.


Management Options:

The best management option is to not allow the Asian Longhorn beetle to infest hosts.



Climate doesn’t seem to affect the Asian Longhorn beetle too much. The ALB has been confirmed in New York, New Jersey and Illinois in the early to mid 1990s and its natural habitat is China. The beetles have not yet been found in Europe and at one time it was recorded in Japan, and is present in Korea Democratic People’s Republic, Korea Republic, and Taiwan. Cooler temperatures don’t seem to be an issue for the beetles (EPPO). The ALB (or other exotic Longhorn beetles) has also been seen in ports all over the U.S. such as; Southern California, the Virginias, Florida, Washington, around other Great Lakes states, and all up and down the East Cost. This doesn’t mean that the beetles are present (University of Vermont).


            Mechanical Practices:

Mechanical means as of right now seem to be the best way of controlling the ALB. Removal of the tree is the best management IF trees have been infested. In the United States we should keep it confined to the areas it has already infested and to not allow the beetles to move from the areas in it has already infested.


Biocontrols and Pesticides:

Many pesticides have been put under testing. To name a few Imidacloprid, Disulfoton, Acephate, Bifenthrin, and Chlorpyrifos have all been applied as soil injection, trunk injection and trunk implanting. Imidacloprid is the active ingredient in the common insecticide Marathon interestingly enough was the most affective in killing the beetles. Marathon has been the most over used insecticide in greenhouse pest management and many insects have developed immunity to it. However, it seems the ALB don’t have a very good defense against imidacloprid, especially if it is trunk injected (University of Vermont). It should also be noted that NONE of these chemicals can be used on any kind of crop trees, such as Maples for maple sugar. Natural biocontrols have still not been found; because the beetles spend a good portion of their time inside the tree it is hard for natural controls to reach them. Entomologists and other researchers are still looking for the biocontrols or pathogens that attack the ALBs.



As of right now there is no “cure all” for this pest. However, there are many people working all over the world trying to control it. As of right now the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services has adopted the rule of thumb that if a tree is infested with ALB then it should be removed because the U.S. and the world for that mater has yet to identify another way of control other than to not allow the pest to spread.




EPPO DATA SHEETS ON QUARANTINE PESTS Anoplophora glabripennis http://www.eppo.org/QUARANTINE/insects/Anoplophora_glabripennis/ANOLGL_ds.pdf


Koday’s Kids Amazing Insects: Asian Longhorned Beetle


University of Vermont: Insecticides



University of Vermont: Asian Longhorned Beetle