Critters - Arthropods, Mollusks, Worms, Fish, etc.

This album shows some of the interesting animals I have seen while working on this website. Don't let some of them scare you from going out on your own!
Image Number Image (Click to Enlarge)CaptionImage Viewed
1 I found this large <strong>crawfish</strong> (a.k.a crawdad, crayfish, mudbug) in the creek at the University of Tennessee Arboretum. It was very well camouflaged against the mud. Crawfish are crustaceans with 10 legs. The pincers are like those of a l...

I found this large crawfish (a.k.a crawdad, crayfish, mudbug) in the creek at the University of Tennessee Arboretum. It was very well camouflaged against the mud. Crawfish are crustaceans with 10 legs. The pincers are like those of a l...

I found this large crawfish (a.k.a crawdad, crayfish, mudbug) in the creek at the University of Tennessee Arboretum. It was very well camouflaged against the mud. Crawfish are crustaceans with 10 legs. The pincers are like those of a lobster, one is used for crushing, the other for tearing and pulling food. 3332
2 One of the kids at the 2005 ORNL science camp found this <strong>female Crawfish with eggs</strong> during our Stream Ecology class. The female carries her eggs (sometimes called "berries") under her tail until they hatch.

One of the kids at the 2005 ORNL science camp found this female Crawfish with eggs during our Stream Ecology class. The female carries her eggs (sometimes called "berries") under her tail until they hatch.

One of the kids at the 2005 ORNL science camp found this female Crawfish with eggs during our Stream Ecology class. The female carries her eggs (sometimes called "berries") under her tail until they hatch. 2731
3 This is a photo of <strong>Crayfish claspers</strong>, the small upward-pointing appendages below the walking legs. If you have ever wondered how to determine the gender of a crawfish, pick it up and look at the underneath side, only the male has clasp...

This is a photo of Crayfish claspers, the small upward-pointing appendages below the walking legs. If you have ever wondered how to determine the gender of a crawfish, pick it up and look at the underneath side, only the male has clasp...

This is a photo of Crayfish claspers, the small upward-pointing appendages below the walking legs. If you have ever wondered how to determine the gender of a crawfish, pick it up and look at the underneath side, only the male has claspers. 3460
4 This <strong>Terrestrial Crawfish</strong> decided to see who was disturbing his peace and quiet while I was leading a nature hike at the UT Arboretum. We were amazed to see him peek out and wave his claw at us as if he was telling us to go away!

This Terrestrial Crawfish decided to see who was disturbing his peace and quiet while I was leading a nature hike at the UT Arboretum. We were amazed to see him peek out and wave his claw at us as if he was telling us to go away!

This Terrestrial Crawfish decided to see who was disturbing his peace and quiet while I was leading a nature hike at the UT Arboretum. We were amazed to see him peek out and wave his claw at us as if he was telling us to go away! 2815
5 Terrestrial crawfish make holes along stream banks, many have blobs of mud that look like chimneys. Like their totally aquatic kin, they have to keep their lungs wet to survive. They dig down to the water level and live there.

Terrestrial crawfish make holes along stream banks, many have blobs of mud that look like chimneys. Like their totally aquatic kin, they have to keep their lungs wet to survive. They dig down to the water level and live there.

Terrestrial crawfish make holes along stream banks, many have blobs of mud that look like chimneys. Like their totally aquatic kin, they have to keep their lungs wet to survive. They dig down to the water level and live there. 5346
6 <strong>Millipede</strong> 
<em>Sigmoria</em> spp. / Class Diplopoda

This kind of <strong>Millipede</strong> smells like cherries when it gets disturbed, the smell comes from cyanide which it uses as a defense mechanism. The yellow and black markin...

Millipede Sigmoria spp. / Class Diplopoda This kind of Millipede smells like cherries when it gets disturbed, the smell comes from cyanide which it uses as a defense mechanism. The yellow and black markin...

Millipede Sigmoria spp. / Class Diplopoda This kind of Millipede smells like cherries when it gets disturbed, the smell comes from cyanide which it uses as a defense mechanism. The yellow and black markings are warning colors to any predator that might want to eat it. The worst they can do to a person who picks them up is to poop on them (but at least it smells like cherries)! Unlike carnivorous centipedes which eat insects and can sting with modified mouthparts, millipedes are herbivores and eat dead leaves. Millipedes do not sting. Although they are arthropods, they have many more than 6 legs, so they are not insects. more millipede info 5831
7 Note how the legs of this Millipede are in pairs, their legs move in waves as they walk. Centipedes have one pair of legs per segment, millipedes have 2 pairs per segment.

Note how the legs of this Millipede are in pairs, their legs move in waves as they walk. Centipedes have one pair of legs per segment, millipedes have 2 pairs per segment.

Note how the legs of this Millipede are in pairs, their legs move in waves as they walk. Centipedes have one pair of legs per segment, millipedes have 2 pairs per segment. 2896
8 This Millipede was not happy at all when Kenny flipped it on its back in his hand so I could get a photo of the pairs of legs. I had to focus and shoot quickly because it kept trying to right itself! But, what better way is there to show the layout of ...

This Millipede was not happy at all when Kenny flipped it on its back in his hand so I could get a photo of the pairs of legs. I had to focus and shoot quickly because it kept trying to right itself! But, what better way is there to show the layout of ...

This Millipede was not happy at all when Kenny flipped it on its back in his hand so I could get a photo of the pairs of legs. I had to focus and shoot quickly because it kept trying to right itself! But, what better way is there to show the layout of the many legs than this?! Also, note the tiny points on the end of each leg, I guess millipedes walk on their "tiptoes". After this shot, I replaced it into the leaves on the side of the trail. So, I'm not TOO mean! :) 2773
9 When my husband picked up this <em>Narceus americanus</em> millipede he quickly learned its' defense mechanism. As he held it in his hand, it began to ooze a pungent orange liquid that looked, smelled, and stained like iodine! A while later the stain t...

When my husband picked up this Narceus americanus millipede he quickly learned its' defense mechanism. As he held it in his hand, it began to ooze a pungent orange liquid that looked, smelled, and stained like iodine! A while later the stain t...

When my husband picked up this Narceus americanus millipede he quickly learned its' defense mechanism. As he held it in his hand, it began to ooze a pungent orange liquid that looked, smelled, and stained like iodine! A while later the stain turned a maroon color. He had stains on his hands for a few days. This one became annoyed and finally nipped his hand! 4335
10 Kenny put this huge Millipede on his hat for scale to show its size. It measured ~5"!

Kenny put this huge Millipede on his hat for scale to show its size. It measured ~5"!

Kenny put this huge Millipede on his hat for scale to show its size. It measured ~5"! 2175
11 Mating Millipedes are quite a tangle of legs! ;)

Mating Millipedes are quite a tangle of legs! ;)

Mating Millipedes are quite a tangle of legs! ;) 2223
12 <strong>Platydesmida</strong>
<em>Brachycybe</em> sp./ Class Diplopoda
Great Smoky Mountains NP
August 9, 2008

These odd little pink creatures are related to millipedes. They are commonly seen in deciduous forests.

Platydesmida Brachycybe sp./ Class Diplopoda Great Smoky Mountains NP August 9, 2008 These odd little pink creatures are related to millipedes. They are commonly seen in deciduous forests.

Platydesmida Brachycybe sp./ Class Diplopoda Great Smoky Mountains NP August 9, 2008 These odd little pink creatures are related to millipedes. They are commonly seen in deciduous forests. 2201
13 I didn't find this on one of my wildflower excursions, but it was so strange I just had to add it! When I was sweeping the patio at our house I found this <u>purple</u> pillbug (a.k.a. "roly-poly"). I added a normal-colored one for comparison. I have n...

I didn't find this on one of my wildflower excursions, but it was so strange I just had to add it! When I was sweeping the patio at our house I found this purple pillbug (a.k.a. "roly-poly"). I added a normal-colored one for comparison. I have n...

I didn't find this on one of my wildflower excursions, but it was so strange I just had to add it! When I was sweeping the patio at our house I found this purple pillbug (a.k.a. "roly-poly"). I added a normal-colored one for comparison. I have no idea why it was so strangely colored! Another of life's little mysteries! ***Update*** The "little mystery" of the purple color may have been solved thanks to an internet search. According to a site I found called Arachnoboards someone posted a quote from the San Diego Natural History Museum Entomology page stating: "The blue color you noted is due to an infection of the pillbug by an iridovirus; this disease which affects pillbugs in our area is being studied by scientists at the Universities of California at Riverside and Berkeley. The blue color is due to the refraction of light from the infected cells. The virus has been named the "isopod iridescent virus" or IIV." This icosahedral-shaped virus is found in the soil and infects isopods and terrestrial insect larvae. The virus is eventually fatal to the pillbug, this one died a couple of days after I took this photo. 2858
14 Close-up of a Purple Pillbug infected with an <em>iridovirus</em>.

Close-up of a Purple Pillbug infected with an iridovirus.

Close-up of a Purple Pillbug infected with an iridovirus. 2533
15 Iridovirus-infected Pillbug (taken with a flash and a 105mm macro lens)

Iridovirus-infected Pillbug (taken with a flash and a 105mm macro lens)

Iridovirus-infected Pillbug (taken with a flash and a 105mm macro lens) 2490
16 <strong>Aquatic Sowbug; Isopod</strong>
I found these critters in a drip puddle beneath a rock ledge along the bank of Piney River. They are related to terrestrial sowbugs. Their main food is tiny particles of dead plant and animal remains. The isopod...

Aquatic Sowbug; Isopod I found these critters in a drip puddle beneath a rock ledge along the bank of Piney River. They are related to terrestrial sowbugs. Their main food is tiny particles of dead plant and animal remains. The isopod...

Aquatic Sowbug; Isopod I found these critters in a drip puddle beneath a rock ledge along the bank of Piney River. They are related to terrestrial sowbugs. Their main food is tiny particles of dead plant and animal remains. The isopod's head is on the right. 2509
17 <strong>Scud</strong>

We found this isopod during a Stream Ecology class during the 2009 AMSE science camp.

Scud We found this isopod during a Stream Ecology class during the 2009 AMSE science camp.

Scud We found this isopod during a Stream Ecology class during the 2009 AMSE science camp. 2056
18 <strong>Soil Centipede</strong> 
<em>Strigamia</em> spp.
Some of the kids at science camp where I teach in the summer found this centipede. These animals are different from millipedes by being carnivorous, venomous, and having 1 pair of legs per segm...

Soil Centipede Strigamia spp. Some of the kids at science camp where I teach in the summer found this centipede. These animals are different from millipedes by being carnivorous, venomous, and having 1 pair of legs per segm...

Soil Centipede Strigamia spp. Some of the kids at science camp where I teach in the summer found this centipede. These animals are different from millipedes by being carnivorous, venomous, and having 1 pair of legs per segment rather than 2 pairs or 4 legs. Centipedes can have from 15 to 191 pairs of legs (they always have an odd number), this one has 73 pairs!. This kind of centipede lives in the soil and can burrow up to 28" as it hunts for worms and insect larvae. Centipedes can bite with fang-like modified legs next to the head, called forcipules (which are attached to venom glands), if handled and is painful if the skin is broken. 8619
19 <strong>House Centipede; Common Scutigera</strong> / Chilopoda
<em>Scutigera coleoptrata</em>
This is the only centipede that is commonly found in houses, but I photographed this one in a hotel room in Nashville! I'm probably one of the few people in...

House Centipede; Common Scutigera / Chilopoda Scutigera coleoptrata This is the only centipede that is commonly found in houses, but I photographed this one in a hotel room in Nashville! I'm probably one of the few people in...

House Centipede; Common Scutigera / Chilopoda Scutigera coleoptrata This is the only centipede that is commonly found in houses, but I photographed this one in a hotel room in Nashville! I'm probably one of the few people in the world that would be excited to find a critter like this in my hotel room! :) I've seen these in the bathroom at school too. They get the girls pretty riled up! I guess this is a "30-pede" since it has 15 pairs of long legs. House centipedes are not native to North America, they probably hitched rides on many of the ships that sailed from Europe long ago (along with Norway rats!). They actually are pretty helpful creatures to have in a house, school or even a hotel room because they eat roaches, termites, ants, silverfish, spiders and other household critters we don't want to share our homes with. 4975
20 <strong>Earthworm</strong>

When I needed to get a photo of an earthworm I figured the best place to find some would be in the compost heap. Sure enough, one turn of the trowel and I quickly had many to choose from! They were not real thrilled about ...

Earthworm When I needed to get a photo of an earthworm I figured the best place to find some would be in the compost heap. Sure enough, one turn of the trowel and I quickly had many to choose from! They were not real thrilled about ...

Earthworm When I needed to get a photo of an earthworm I figured the best place to find some would be in the compost heap. Sure enough, one turn of the trowel and I quickly had many to choose from! They were not real thrilled about being exposed to the bright sunlight, so they quickly burrowed back down into the decaying orange peels, egg shells and other kitchen scraps. Earthworms are in the group of worms called annelids, or segmented worms. It is easy to see the small segments in this photo. The wider band in the middle of the worm is called the clitellum, it is from this area from which the worm lays its (or maybe I should say "his/her" since these worms are both male and female!) egg-filled cocoon. I was interested to learn that this band will slide off after the worm deposits the cocoon. Earthworms are highly beneficial, as they burrow through the ground they consume and digest organic material, returning the nutrients to the soil in their droppings, called frass. They have small, stiff setae which help them move through the soil. I remember having to dissect preserved earthworms in high school biology many years ago. It seemed strange to find out that they had 10 hearts! 2086
21 Aquatic worm

Aquatic worm

Aquatic worm 2168
22 <strong>Leech</strong>

I must admit, leeches rank pretty high on the "icky scale"! However, I was happy to get this photo to add to my Critters Gallery. Leeches, like earthworms, are Annelids, or segmented worms. Unlike earthworms, they are  "carniv...

Leech I must admit, leeches rank pretty high on the "icky scale"! However, I was happy to get this photo to add to my Critters Gallery. Leeches, like earthworms, are Annelids, or segmented worms. Unlike earthworms, they are "carniv...

Leech I must admit, leeches rank pretty high on the "icky scale"! However, I was happy to get this photo to add to my Critters Gallery. Leeches, like earthworms, are Annelids, or segmented worms. Unlike earthworms, they are "carnivores" in that they obtain food by sucking blood from fish and even humans. Fortunately, this aquatic species doesn't get much longer than about 2". The head is on the left side of this photo. 2842
23 <strong>Horsehair worm</strong>
<em>Gordius</em> spp.
This horsehair worm was found coiled around a stick in the river at Tremont. It could be a male waiting for a female to come to the river. These roundworms have an interesting life cycle beginning...

Horsehair worm Gordius spp. This horsehair worm was found coiled around a stick in the river at Tremont. It could be a male waiting for a female to come to the river. These roundworms have an interesting life cycle beginning...

Horsehair worm Gordius spp. This horsehair worm was found coiled around a stick in the river at Tremont. It could be a male waiting for a female to come to the river. These roundworms have an interesting life cycle beginning as eggs in water. When an insect, such as a roach, cicada, beetle, grasshopper, or cricket, eats a worm cyst (or 2 or 3!), the cyst hatches releasing the larval worm. The parasitic larva eats its' host and develops into an adult worm throughout the year. When the host is ready to die, it goes to water. As it comes in contact with water, the adult worm (which can be up to 2 feet long!) leaves the host's body. When the male and female mate, the female lays her eggs in the water and the cycle starts all over again. I found out in an interesting way how this happens! While I was at Tremont, the Smokies field school, a few years ago, the director (Amber) handed me a jar with a camel cricket. She told me to put a little bit of water in the jar and watch what happens. The cricket was a female and I was surprised when her "ovipositor" got longer and longer. I was amazed, shocked, and a little horrified when I realized it was a thin, brown worm coming from the cricket's body! It got quite a lot of attention from the other participants just before lunch! Good thing we didn't have spaghetti that day! :) 3191
24 A <strong>Slug</strong> is a mollusk, making it related to clams, snails, abalone, cuttlefish, squid  and octopus. Unlike the animals listed above, it has no external or internal shell. When I was in Germany several years ago, I went into my friend's g...

A Slug is a mollusk, making it related to clams, snails, abalone, cuttlefish, squid and octopus. Unlike the animals listed above, it has no external or internal shell. When I was in Germany several years ago, I went into my friend's g...

A Slug is a mollusk, making it related to clams, snails, abalone, cuttlefish, squid and octopus. Unlike the animals listed above, it has no external or internal shell. When I was in Germany several years ago, I went into my friend's garden to pick some fresh strawberries. Many of them were already being eaten by these slimy creatures. I asked Ursula what they are called in German. Her answer was "Nacktschnecke". I laughed and said, "Oh, so they are a 'naked snail'!". German is such a literal language! :) Slugs move about on a trail of slime, leaving a silvery trail behind them. Squiggly lines seen on logs, rocks, fence posts, etc., may be the marks left behind by feeding slugs. They have a rasping mouth called a "radula" used for scraping algae. 2947
25 <strong>Snail</strong> 
I photographed this Snail crawling on a log at Tremont. Like slugs, snails are molluscs, they move on a large muscular foot on a trail of slime. This snail has one eyestalk extended. The snail can pull itself into the shell if ...

Snail I photographed this Snail crawling on a log at Tremont. Like slugs, snails are molluscs, they move on a large muscular foot on a trail of slime. This snail has one eyestalk extended. The snail can pull itself into the shell if ...

Snail I photographed this Snail crawling on a log at Tremont. Like slugs, snails are molluscs, they move on a large muscular foot on a trail of slime. This snail has one eyestalk extended. The snail can pull itself into the shell if it is in danger. 2474
26 These squiggly marks on the wood were made by a snail or a slug. Their mouth has rows of tiny teeth on the "tongue", called a <em>radula</em>. This photograph shows where a snail or slug has eaten algal cells growing on a wooden bridge.

These squiggly marks on the wood were made by a snail or a slug. Their mouth has rows of tiny teeth on the "tongue", called a radula. This photograph shows where a snail or slug has eaten algal cells growing on a wooden bridge.

These squiggly marks on the wood were made by a snail or a slug. Their mouth has rows of tiny teeth on the "tongue", called a radula. This photograph shows where a snail or slug has eaten algal cells growing on a wooden bridge. 2780
27 <strong>Freshwater Snails </strong>
Gastropods

Different types of Freshwater snails can different levels of pollution in their water sources. An easy way to tell how tolerant they are is to look at the opening of the shell. Hold up a shell by the p...

Freshwater Snails Gastropods Different types of Freshwater snails can different levels of pollution in their water sources. An easy way to tell how tolerant they are is to look at the opening of the shell. Hold up a shell by the p...

Freshwater Snails Gastropods Different types of Freshwater snails can different levels of pollution in their water sources. An easy way to tell how tolerant they are is to look at the opening of the shell. Hold up a shell by the pointed end, if the opening is on the left side, the snail can more easily tolerate pollution. "Right-handed" snails must have cleaner water.These snails graze algae on rocks and stream beds. I tease my students by telling them to watch out for the "killer snails" when we go to the creek for the Stream Ecology class. Several years ago during science camp we had a very "active" student who was always getting into predicaments. During that class he came up to me with blood and water dripping from his hand to his elbow. "What happened to you?!", I asked. "I cut it on a snail!", he answered. "How in the world did you cut yourself on a snail?", I asked in amazement. "I slipped and fell on its (upward pointing) shell!", he replied. 5644
28 Empty shells of Snails

Empty shells of Snails

Empty shells of Snails 2136
29 <strong>Longnose Gar</strong>
<em>Lepisosteus osseus</em>
August 10, 2007
I saw this fish swimming near the surface of the water at the Norris Dam Marina. They have a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth and are quite voracious predators, they ambush thei...

Longnose Gar Lepisosteus osseus August 10, 2007 I saw this fish swimming near the surface of the water at the Norris Dam Marina. They have a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth and are quite voracious predators, they ambush thei...

Longnose Gar Lepisosteus osseus August 10, 2007 I saw this fish swimming near the surface of the water at the Norris Dam Marina. They have a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth and are quite voracious predators, they ambush their prey. I was surprised to learn that their eggs are poisonous! 2420
30 <strong>Hogsucker Fish</strong>
</em>Hypentelium nigricans</em>
June 17, 2007
Spring City, TN
These 6 Hogsucker Fish were resting on a rock in Piney River. They use their large sucker mouths to hold on to the rocks in fast moving water. Their food ...

Hogsucker Fish Hypentelium nigricans June 17, 2007 Spring City, TN These 6 Hogsucker Fish were resting on a rock in Piney River. They use their large sucker mouths to hold on to the rocks in fast moving water. Their food ...

Hogsucker Fish Hypentelium nigricans June 17, 2007 Spring City, TN These 6 Hogsucker Fish were resting on a rock in Piney River. They use their large sucker mouths to hold on to the rocks in fast moving water. Their food is aquatic insect larvae, such as mayfly nymphs, stonefly nymphs, etc. I took this photo from the opposite bank with a 300mm telephoto lens, so it is a bit distorted. 2408
31 <strong>Bluegill</strong> Fish 
<em>Lepomis macrochirus</em>
The water in Piney River is surprisingly clear considering it is downstream from a clearcut forest area. The section below the first bridge is quite deep, so there are lots of fish. We enjo...

Bluegill Fish Lepomis macrochirus The water in Piney River is surprisingly clear considering it is downstream from a clearcut forest area. The section below the first bridge is quite deep, so there are lots of fish. We enjo...

Bluegill Fish Lepomis macrochirus The water in Piney River is surprisingly clear considering it is downstream from a clearcut forest area. The section below the first bridge is quite deep, so there are lots of fish. We enjoyed watching these bluegill catch insects in the river. 2257
32 <strong>American Paddlefish</strong>  <br><i>Polyodon spathula<i>

American Paddlefish
Polyodon spathula

American Paddlefish
Polyodon spathula This photo was taken at the Chattanooga Aquarium.
2026
33 <strong>Water Flea</strong> at 40X magnification
<em>Scapholeberis</em> spp. / Order: Cladocera

This tiny, transparent, freshwater creature was photographed with a projection microscope, the image is projected on the tabletop onto a piece of white ...

Water Flea at 40X magnification Scapholeberis spp. / Order: Cladocera This tiny, transparent, freshwater creature was photographed with a projection microscope, the image is projected on the tabletop onto a piece of white ...

Water Flea at 40X magnification Scapholeberis spp. / Order: Cladocera This tiny, transparent, freshwater creature was photographed with a projection microscope, the image is projected on the tabletop onto a piece of white paper. These animals can be pinpoint-sized to the size of a pinhead. They are very common in freshwater lakes and ponds, in fact, if you have ever been swimming or water skiing in a lake, you've probably swallowed a few of them! The large black spot on the head is a compound eye and the long brown strip in the middle is the digestive system. I enjoy telling my students about the reproductive cycle of water fleas. Most of the year the animals are all females. They reproduce by cloning themselves, no males needed! The olive-green oval in this waterflea's brood pouch is her developing clone. When conditions get stressful in the habitat, males can be produced; when a male and female mate, a resting egg develops. The egg is released and settles to the bottom of the lake or pond, when conditions improve, the young water flea will hatch. Water fleas are the aquatic equalivalent of the "canary in the coal mine". Water treatment plants often use water fleas to test the quality of water before returning it to the river. 2845
34 <strong>Vorticella</strong> - a ciliated protozoan 200X magnification

These microscopic, single-celled organisms (they are <u>not</u> "bugs" or animals!) are fun to observe through a microscope. Vorticella are stalked, ciliated protozoa. The bell-sh...

Vorticella - a ciliated protozoan 200X magnification These microscopic, single-celled organisms (they are not "bugs" or animals!) are fun to observe through a microscope. Vorticella are stalked, ciliated protozoa. The bell-sh...

Vorticella - a ciliated protozoan 200X magnification These microscopic, single-celled organisms (they are not "bugs" or animals!) are fun to observe through a microscope. Vorticella are stalked, ciliated protozoa. The bell-shaped part of the cell has a ring of cilia, tiny hairlike structures that wave back and forth to pull in any edible particles in the water. When the cells are stimulated in a negative manner (like when I put them under a projection microscope with a hot, bright light!) the stalk coils like a spring, they spin and pull down toward the substrate to which they are attached. They appear to bounce or pop up and down. The thin, thread-like stalks are just barely visible on some of the cells in this photo. A Vorticella spins around like a vortex or small tornado, probably the origin of the "vorti" part of its name. These cells are attached to a green alga strand. I often see the attached to leaflets of Milfoil and even small aquatic snail shells. 2812
35 Although the <strong>Venus Fly Trap</strong> (<em>Dionaea muscipula</em>) is not a "critter", I am adding it to this gallery since it does <u>eat</u> critters, such as flies and insects. This is a plant that I bought at a grocery store. Carnivorous Ven...

Although the Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula) is not a "critter", I am adding it to this gallery since it does eat critters, such as flies and insects. This is a plant that I bought at a grocery store. Carnivorous Ven...

Although the Venus Fly Trap (Dionaea muscipula) is not a "critter", I am adding it to this gallery since it does eat critters, such as flies and insects. This is a plant that I bought at a grocery store. Carnivorous Venus Fly Traps grow wild in the wetlands of North Carolina, where they are protected. You can buy these plants with a clear conscience, they are grown in vitro in a test tube or Petri dish! Note the reddish hue and little trigger hairs on the leaf pads. The red color on the leaf pads attracts flies and other insects. An insect has to touch 2 of the 3 hairs in order to cause the pads to close; this prevents accidental closure. Digestive enzymes in the leaf pads help the plant get the needed nutrients from the trapped insect. I feed fruitflies to mine, using a pin to put them in the leaves. To better understand the closing mechanism check this website: Venus Fly Trap info 2796
36 Venus Fly Traps are flowering plants. This plant is in my dining room, so I don't know if it will bloom or not. One thing these plants can't tolerate is fertilizer. It is important not to "tease" the leaves into closing, after 7 or so "false alarm" clo...

Venus Fly Traps are flowering plants. This plant is in my dining room, so I don't know if it will bloom or not. One thing these plants can't tolerate is fertilizer. It is important not to "tease" the leaves into closing, after 7 or so "false alarm" clo...

Venus Fly Traps are flowering plants. This plant is in my dining room, so I don't know if it will bloom or not. One thing these plants can't tolerate is fertilizer. It is important not to "tease" the leaves into closing, after 7 or so "false alarm" closings, the leaves will die. 2819

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