This looks like a nice place to.. (imgur.com)

14041 ups - 12575 downs = 1466 votes

1372 comments submitted at 13:00:29 on May 17, 2013 by helperpc

  • [-]
  • iamreddy44
  • 2066 Points
  • 13:48:42, 17 May

Vegetarians tell your food not to eat my food.Thank you.

  • [-]
  • kaax
  • 731 Points
  • 13:57:40, 17 May

The question is, can vegetarians eat a venus trap, and still remain vegeterian? The venus trap is obviously a carnivore.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 2365 Points
  • 14:25:03, 17 May

Biologist here!

Absolutely!

Also, this isn't the only plant that you could eat the technically is capable of consuming animals.

If you've ever eaten a pineapple, they, too, contain digestive enzymes in their leaves that can be released in order to digest animal matter that gets stuck in their leaves! The top leafy-part of a pineapple that you buy in the stores is actually a way for the pineapple to gain extra water by capturing rain events. Occasionally, small insects may get caught in this and try to escape by chewing through the pineapple's leaves. When this happens, an enzyme called "bromelain" is released into the water which dissolves the connective tissue in the insect, leaving them a lovely little slurry for the plant to slowly absorb!

Both the pineapple (among many other bromeliads) and the Venus fly trap are similar in that they both live in very nutrient deprived environments (bogs and tropical rainforests) so they've come up with similar adaptations to getting the required nitrogen and phosphorous that facilitate or supplement their growth!

EDIT: Thanks for the Reddit Gold, anonymous benefactors!

  • [-]
  • diewhitegirls
  • 1482 Points
  • 14:27:51, 17 May

Jesus Tapdancing Christ. I've been pretty sure my pineapple has been eyeing me funny, but now I'm convinced. I'm gonna stab that motherfucker tonight.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 823 Points
  • 14:48:33, 17 May

You're falling right into it's clutches! Once you stab it, it's going to release digestive enzymes and you'll be nothing but a puddle of human goo by morning!

(This is also why you can't use fresh pineapple in a jello mold, it dissolves the gelatin, a connective tissue, and prevents it from firming up!)

  • [-]
  • sprankton
  • 92 Points
  • 15:04:47, 17 May

This is true of quite a few tropical fruits e.g. guava, papaya, and mango. Milkweed pods actually have toxic amounts of papayin, the enzyme that makes papaya unfit for jello.

  • [-]
  • helperpc
  • 169 Points
  • 15:12:42, 17 May

Link to Unidan AMA from 21 days ago, which was awesome!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 253 Points
  • 15:18:57, 17 May

And it's still going on! Feel free to keep asking questions, this thread goes until it locks in like...six months.

  • [-]
  • fostulo
  • 136 Points
  • 15:30:58, 17 May

Unidan, you are my favorite biologist ever!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 194 Points
  • 15:37:00, 17 May

How many biologists do you know?!

  • [-]
  • Romney_for_President
  • 15 Points
  • 15:35:48, 17 May

I've tagged him as Bee Horror Story Guy

  • [-]
  • jayseesee85
  • 2 Points
  • 15:56:16, 17 May

How many months of reddit gold do you have by now?

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 9 Points
  • 15:56:49, 17 May

Haha, currently, my gifts of Reddit gold total one year and seven months!

  • [-]
  • schadly
  • 2 Points
  • 15:58:32, 17 May

so when will your reddit gold run out? I love reading your comments BTW.

  • [-]
  • moonra_zk
  • 9 Points
  • 15:18:28, 17 May

Aww, fuck, how did I miss that? ):

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 5 Points
  • 15:36:46, 17 May

You didn't! It's still happening!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 51 Points
  • 15:13:33, 17 May

Yup!

Plus, milkweed is super toxic due to its defensive latex and other secondary metabolites!

  • [-]
  • RedditTooAddictive
  • 26 Points
  • 15:19:46, 17 May

Would you like to marry me? I swear I won't use any digestive enzyme on you

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 75 Points
  • 15:26:54, 17 May

Fine.

  • [-]
  • emj1014
  • 2 Points
  • 15:25:05, 17 May

Keep it up. I enjoy reading comments like this; you make reddit the website that I enjoy. Now if you could find a way to destroy the pun threads you'd be my hero.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 17 Points
  • 15:34:02, 17 May

I agree, and hope to help you Dole out the punishment.

  • [-]
  • davidrools
  • 3 Points
  • 16:24:02, 17 May

But, for that same reason, papaya and fruits with that enzyme also help digesting proteins. I know whenever I have a stomach ache, a nice helping of papaya always seems to make me feel better :)

  • [-]
  • jjjaaammm
  • 2 Points
  • 16:26:38, 17 May

And why pinapple juice is used as a meat tenderizer.

  • [-]
  • Sparkiran
  • 2 Points
  • 18:54:11, 17 May

Man, I thought your username was mine for a second.

  • [-]
  • PandaJesus
  • 71 Points
  • 15:17:56, 17 May

Is this also why my lips and tongue feel a little tingly if I eat too much fresh pineapple? Is it trying to digest my mouth?

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 135 Points
  • 15:20:49, 17 May

Yes, it is! Your tongue and lips are quite literally being dissolved.

  • [-]
  • PandaJesus
  • 126 Points
  • 15:22:40, 17 May

I showed that son of a bitch and digested it first.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 114 Points
  • 15:37:58, 17 May

It's a dangerous game we play.

  • [-]
  • bobdeathron
  • 28 Points
  • 16:14:06, 17 May

In the game of digestion, you win, or you die.

  • [-]
  • usedtoilet
  • 3 Points
  • 16:40:09, 17 May

u r amazing

  • [-]
  • Jimqi
  • 2 Points
  • 22:26:53, 17 May

This kills the pineapple.

  • [-]
  • Mongolian_Ping-Pong
  • 11 Points
  • 15:48:44, 17 May

Soooooo. Are you saying that we could dissolve a body with fresh pineapple juice?

Hypothetically of course. Relevant!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 16 Points
  • 15:52:56, 17 May

Yup, definitely! I'm not sure you would lose the bones entirely, though, but the muscle and skin, absolutely.

  • [-]
  • MrGreenBeanz
  • 6 Points
  • 16:27:17, 17 May

That's slightly terrifying.

  • [-]
  • KaylaS
  • 26 Points
  • 15:12:20, 17 May

Canned pineapple works though? Do the enzymes react or dissolve in the canning process?

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 54 Points
  • 15:37:40, 17 May

The canning process denatures the enzyme through heating, making it no longer function to dissolve connective tissue!

Great question!

  • [-]
  • PoeticPisces
  • 3 Points
  • 18:57:19, 17 May

Would this be part of why I think canned pineapples are ridiculously inferior to fresh ones?

  • [-]
  • diewhitegirls
  • 37 Points
  • 15:18:39, 17 May

Stop sciencing me with your science and let me go on a rage-induced vegetable/fruit murder spree in peace, MISTER Scientest.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 36 Points
  • 15:21:16, 17 May

D:

  • [-]
  • diewhitegirls
  • 3 Points
  • 15:30:18, 17 May

I'm sorry, that was just the adrenaline talking. We should work together against our plant-based overlords.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 10 Points
  • 15:32:18, 17 May

I'm just going to join up with the plants.

People always try to tell themselves that they're the animals are the dominant type of organism on Earth, when the ratio of plants to animals is ridiculously skewed in favor of the plants!

  • [-]
  • diewhitegirls
  • 5 Points
  • 15:36:50, 17 May

Alright, if you're on their side, we're fucked.

  • [-]
  • Sugusino
  • 2 Points
  • 15:15:30, 17 May

Enthusiastic biologist on duty!

btw, have you seen this TED talk? http://www.ted.com/talks/robertfullonengineeringand_evolution.html

I figured you could like it.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 3 Points
  • 15:20:36, 17 May

I haven't, but I'll check it out, thanks!

  • [-]
  • woodyreturns
  • 2 Points
  • 17:31:53, 17 May

Unidan, just tell us how to kill it and their whole juicy species.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 3 Points
  • 17:33:18, 17 May

Just...just eat 'em.

  • [-]
  • AWildSketchAppeared
  • 290 Points
  • 15:16:17, 17 May

http://i.imgur.com/xrefSph.jpg

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 96 Points
  • 15:21:59, 17 May

Ooh, I'm honored you finally made an appearance while I was posting! Thanks for the sketch!

  • [-]
  • diewhitegirls
  • 19 Points
  • 15:20:09, 17 May

This is the single greatest honor that has ever been bestowed upon me on Reddit.

  • [-]
  • yemd
  • 2 Points
  • 18:41:30, 17 May

That is surprisingly scary

  • [-]
  • random_life
  • 2 Points
  • 20:55:37, 18 May

Are you into /r/trees?

  • [-]
  • 12hoyebr
  • 72 Points
  • 14:38:59, 17 May

You gotta get it first before it gets you.

  • [-]
  • diewhitegirls
  • 70 Points
  • 14:42:27, 17 May

If I don't make it, start a scholarship at a local college to have someone waste an hour or two on Reddit for me every day.

  • [-]
  • YoungZeebra
  • 22 Points
  • 14:45:51, 17 May

Only an hour or two?

  • [-]
  • smithers85
  • 13 Points
  • 15:09:50, 17 May

"an hour or six" doesn't have the same ring to it.

  • [-]
  • molrobocop
  • 10 Points
  • 14:53:16, 17 May

"Two" Riiight.

  • [-]
  • Sum_Bitch
  • 9 Points
  • 14:56:41, 17 May

Come back with your shield. .. or on it.

  • [-]
  • 12hoyebr
  • 5 Points
  • 14:44:26, 17 May

Who needs a scholarship when I do that anyway? I'll keep your memory going, /u/diewhitegirls.

  • [-]
  • diewhitegirls
  • 12 Points
  • 14:49:46, 17 May

sniff

Also, remember to fap to /r/gonewild twice a day and subscribe to /r/earthporn so you can pretend you go outside.

I'LL MISS YOU.

  • [-]
  • 12hoyebr
  • 7 Points
  • 15:03:13, 17 May

Twice a day?? You're asking a lot of me. But I'll try my best, just for you.

  • [-]
  • cpt_sbx
  • 3 Points
  • 16:58:11, 17 May

You can use regular porn for the other 12 times.

  • [-]
  • diewhitegirls
  • 2 Points
  • 15:08:44, 17 May

Should we...should we make out now?

  • [-]
  • opaleyedragon
  • 29 Points
  • 14:52:36, 17 May

Look out.

  • [-]
  • Rainbowcrash42
  • 16 Points
  • 15:07:42, 17 May

wat

  • [-]
  • opaleyedragon
  • 2 Points
  • 15:13:48, 17 May

Never safe.

  • [-]
  • GrannyBacon81
  • 3 Points
  • 14:52:37, 17 May

Lets hope it's not at your house browsing reddit. You may still have the jump on him.

  • [-]
  • zyedy
  • 3 Points
  • 15:03:21, 17 May

In my head: Image of a pineapple smothering a guy named "diewhitegirls" in his sleep. And I'm done with reddit for this morning.

  • [-]
  • [deleted]
  • 5 Points
  • 14:55:11, 17 May

movie pitch: "Hawaiian Pizza: Get or get got!" Starring Bruce Willis and Robin Williams

  • [-]
  • Athurio
  • 2 Points
  • 15:22:42, 17 May

Law of the jungle...

  • [-]
  • chief_running_joke
  • 18 Points
  • 14:46:41, 17 May

Die, you delicious bastard!

  • [-]
  • Insighted_Cuttlefish
  • 16 Points
  • 14:46:20, 17 May

First time I ate pineapple, I didn't realize I was allergic until half-way through eating the entire thing. I was covered in a rash, and nearly my entire body swelled up. I was rushed to the hospital, and nearly died.

  • [-]
  • felixar90
  • 14 Points
  • 14:54:47, 17 May

But did it taste good? Would you try again?

  • [-]
  • Insighted_Cuttlefish
  • 8 Points
  • 15:04:32, 17 May

Yes. I could probably go to the store and buy a pineapple today if you want me too. I've already tried before, and I think I'm fine eating small amounts of it. Pineapple is delicious.

  • [-]
  • JoeLithium
  • 7 Points
  • 14:53:37, 17 May

One among the fence? (Not on topic but saw your username)

  • [-]
  • [deleted]
  • 2 Points
  • 15:17:55, 17 May

[deleted]

  • [-]
  • Moiraine
  • 133 Points
  • 14:26:23, 17 May

I like that you're so enthusiastic!

  • [-]
  • Insighted_Cuttlefish
  • 47 Points
  • 14:33:33, 17 May

Just how I like my biologists.

  • [-]
  • IIdsandsII
  • 3 Points
  • 14:52:07, 17 May

that's what i like about biologists. i keep getting older and they're enthusiastic about carnivorous plants on reddit.

  • [-]
  • The_Haunted_Potato
  • 45 Points
  • 14:40:37, 17 May

/r/UnidanFans

  • [-]
  • opaleyedragon
  • 7 Points
  • 14:44:50, 17 May

Welp TIL that exists!

  • [-]
  • DatNiggaDaz
  • 7 Points
  • 15:07:50, 17 May

as well it should.

  • [-]
  • Whodini
  • 26 Points
  • 14:28:30, 17 May

He's just a shill for "big exclamation mark"

/r/HailCorporate

  • [-]
  • moltencheese
  • 10 Points
  • 14:30:18, 17 May

If true...Unidan is terrible at marketing.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 36 Points
  • 14:49:16, 17 May

Ah jeez, my boss is gonna kill me.

  • [-]
  • Lobrian011235
  • 44 Points
  • 14:33:28, 17 May

Wait, a tropical rainforest is a nutrient deprived environment? Why is that? Don't they contain more biodiversity than almost any other environment?

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 181 Points
  • 14:38:36, 17 May

I love this question!

Yes, it is! But all the biodiversity and growth means that there is intense competition over nutrients. The rainforest as a whole is loaded with nutrients, but almost all of them are tied up in plants and other organisms.

Because the soils in the rainforest are incredibly old, they are also incredibly weathered. Additionally, because the rainfall exceeds the evaporation rate, there is a net movement of water down through the soil, which leaches out nutrients, too. This is why you get mainly oxisols in the tropics.

The red color comes from the oxidation of iron in the soil from incredible exposure. When I was in Costa Rica, the slickness of the soil is incredible, just because it's so ridiculously weathered and fine-grained!

Anyhoo, you can see that it is nutrient deprived by examining the plant morphology, too! If you look at the trees, you'll almost never see a deeply rooted tree as you would in the temperate zone.

The trees are very shallow rooted, with many surface roots. Because the rooting is so unstable due to putting out so much on the surface, you'll see many trees have whats called "buttressing" on their roots to retain their balance!

  • [-]
  • PennilessSneetch
  • 17 Points
  • 14:54:29, 17 May

Damn nature, you amazing!

  • [-]
  • FappasaurusRex
  • 9 Points
  • 14:50:32, 17 May

Thanks for your comment I learned quite a bit about something I've always wondered about!

  • [-]
  • HoppyIPA
  • 9 Points
  • 15:21:54, 17 May

Based on a few comments here I almost thought I was in r/askscience. Good stuff!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 3 Points
  • 15:40:50, 17 May

I'm there, too!

I'm a panelist for ecology and biogeochemistry!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 4 Points
  • 15:41:00, 17 May

No problem!

  • [-]
  • frenzyboard
  • 3 Points
  • 16:01:03, 17 May

How come oxisols look like mars soil?

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 3 Points
  • 16:06:05, 17 May

Because, similarly, the soil on Mars has lots of oxidized iron and aluminum!

  • [-]
  • frenzyboard
  • 3 Points
  • 16:24:39, 17 May

Then I guess the real question is why does mars have lots of oxidized iron and aluminum?

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 3 Points
  • 16:30:41, 17 May

For the same reason Earth does!

It's just a common material that rocky planets in our solar system tend to have.

As for how it got oxidized on Mars, Mars used to have liquid water, which, once it evaporated from the surface, oxidized the iron from its reduced form (ferrous oxide) to its oxidized form (ferric oxide).

  • [-]
  • PenelopePickles
  • 2 Points
  • 14:54:08, 17 May

Can you be my uncle? You would be so much more fun at family gatherings than my actual uncle.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 7 Points
  • 15:03:53, 17 May

Fine, but my nieces and nephew are going to be pissed at the new addition.

  • [-]
  • bbasara007
  • 2 Points
  • 15:19:13, 17 May

You are my favorite redditor, thanks :)

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 3 Points
  • 15:27:07, 17 May

You're welcome, thank you!

  • [-]
  • Crazyh
  • 2 Points
  • 15:23:14, 17 May

As a biologist shouldn't you be out discovering a new flavour of frog or naming a new tree after your favourite cartoon character rather than redditing!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 5 Points
  • 15:25:14, 17 May

My field season is going to gear up next week, so I'm enjoying the laziness right now.

  • [-]
  • helperpc
  • 81 Points
  • 14:26:08, 17 May

could the frog bust out of there?

  • [-]
  • IAMtheRapistAMA
  • 232 Points
  • 14:30:36, 17 May

Son... I don't know how to tell you this, but little Ribbits isn't coming back from that.

  • [-]
  • tinystrangr
  • 82 Points
  • 14:36:06, 17 May

Its sad because you can see how excited he was about his new papasan chair..

  • [-]
  • zhuguli_icewater
  • 45 Points
  • 14:41:52, 17 May

As an owner of a papasan, I would easily fall for a papasan shaped trap.

  • [-]
  • factoid_
  • 19 Points
  • 15:08:39, 17 May

Good on you, man. Keeping Pier One in business.

  • [-]
  • phayd
  • 4 Points
  • 14:54:39, 17 May

As an owner of a papasan from IKEA, I've made a huge mistake

  • [-]
  • paranoidinfidel
  • 3 Points
  • 15:15:59, 17 May

As a former owner of a papasan chair, my kids loved trapping each other under it. Sadly my wife tossed the chair out so I can't reap rewards of imaginary internet points and entertain you all with pictures of them playing Venus papasan trap.

  • [-]
  • cptspiffy
  • 3 Points
  • 19:34:48, 17 May

My wife has been trying to get rid of our papasan for the last two years. Our daughters love it. We'll keep fighting the good fight!

  • [-]
  • tinystrangr
  • 2 Points
  • 17:14:59, 17 May

A someone who doesn't own, but has enjoyed the splendors of a papasan chair, I would take the risk.

  • [-]
  • MyWorkAccountThisIs
  • 2 Points
  • 14:41:38, 17 May

Thus the mystery of Hopkin Green Frog was finally solved.

Terry will be devastated but the closure will help the healing process.

  • [-]
  • starecontest
  • 2 Points
  • 15:46:11, 17 May

Say it ain't so rapist!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 189 Points
  • 14:33:30, 17 May

If it was better positioned, perhaps.

The Venus flytrap will close after two of its trigger hairs are touched in rapid succession, which is an adaptation to prevent it from wasting energy if say, a leaf were to fall on it.

This frog just happened to be perfectly placed when it closed, so there was very little wiggle room.

Frog legs are very powerful, but they require some motion before they can work. The muscles in the legs are strong, but what's really strong in frogs legs are the tendons which coil up and create a "catapulting" action. Without the initial burst, this action is hard to generate, so my guess is that this frog didn't make it.

If the legs were dangling out, I would say the frog would be able to escape, but probably not in this situation.

That said, this is a huge meal for a Venus flytrap. The plant will be digesting this frog for at least two weeks, for sure.

  • [-]
  • Hotshot2k4
  • 78 Points
  • 14:39:04, 17 May

In that time, it will grow larger, so that it can devour bigger prey.

Source: those fish-eating-fish games.

  • [-]
  • sebtoast
  • 19 Points
  • 15:05:12, 17 May

I was thinking more of Little shop of horrors.

  • [-]
  • skriesq
  • 36 Points
  • 15:16:19, 17 May

Is there a way to subscribe to users? I need a notification every time /u/Unidan makes a comment.

  • [-]
  • Nitroglyceri
  • 17 Points
  • 15:38:44, 17 May

You can get an RSS feed for a user by appending .rss to their user page; Unidan's would be at http://www.reddit.com/user/Unidan/.rss.

  • [-]
  • borring
  • 3 Points
  • 16:32:54, 17 May

Dammit, Google Reader! D:

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 2 Points
  • 17:59:55, 17 May

Whoa!

  • [-]
  • PA2SK
  • 41 Points
  • 14:45:16, 17 May

I used to teach biology and we had some Venus flytraps which I would occasionally toss bugs into. I can tell you that to properly digest it's victim the two leaves have to be able to completely seal. It actually forms a little pocket which then fills with it's digestive juices I suppose. If it can't fully seal it may be able to partially digest it's prey depending on how far it can close. If it cant close all the way it may also just open back up eventually, releasing its prey. In this case it really looks like that frog is too big for that plant, it might end up killing it but I'd say there is also a chance it will release the frog unharmed in a day or two. Also the spikes on those plants are not nearly as tough as they look, they're actually pretty flexible and I have seen large bugs break out.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 38 Points
  • 14:51:13, 17 May

Yup, flies will commonly get out of the traps, too, much, much smaller than those.

It's actually kind of annoying to have to feed these guys!

There's a good amount of debate in the literature about whether the Venus flytraps really rely heavily on getting meals this way, or whether its just a very light supplement. Same goes for sundews and such.

  • [-]
  • sprankton
  • 18 Points
  • 15:09:53, 17 May

I'm not a biologist, but couldn't you find that out with a fairly simple experiment? Just put them in conditions that mimic the rain forest and deprive them of flies. Note how much of an impact it has on their growth compared to one given prey, and you have your answer, right?

  • [-]
  • xithy
  • 39 Points
  • 15:16:34, 17 May

Although your answer doesn't involve lasers, your scientific prowness has impressed me and you may pick up your PhD from my desk.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 21 Points
  • 15:23:00, 17 May

Absolutely, but I, unfortunately, don't have any Venus fly traps lying around!

  • [-]
  • kurin
  • 4 Points
  • 15:47:46, 17 May

The world must remain a mystery!

  • [-]
  • godwins_law_34
  • 3 Points
  • 15:42:19, 17 May

not a biologist but i keep a variety of various carnivorous plant terrariums, all with lids, and don't feed them. i find that feeding them is often too much for the plant to deal with and it'll just die. that's a PIA loss when seedlings take years to get to any real size.

  • [-]
  • scientist_tz
  • 2 Points
  • 15:45:13, 17 May

A friend of mine tried that experiment in 8th grade for the science fair. He ordered lots of Venus fly traps, put them in various soil conditions and either fed them or didn't feed them.

He did the experiment in the dead of winter; the plants were just out in his family's living room and he was feeding them tiny pieces of hamburger meat.

Every single one of his plants died. They probably couldn't stand the low humidity and darkness in a midwestern house in mid-winter. He was the only kid who didn't get any kind of ribbon (even an "honorable mention.")

  • [-]
  • luker_mostly
  • 2 Points
  • 17:59:42, 17 May

strange fact here since Unidan is a busy man: Flytraps are not native to rainforests, but rather peat bogs in North and South Carolina.

  • [-]
  • ifartmeat
  • 2 Points
  • 18:33:06, 17 May

I had a Venus fly trap "pet" at my desk once and during the day I would feed it bologna and pieces of bread. I think I killed it. :(

  • [-]
  • fearlessfosdick
  • 8 Points
  • 15:05:38, 17 May

I'll bet froggy is kicking himself for skipping leg day.

  • [-]
  • Niqulaz
  • 21 Points
  • 14:53:06, 17 May

I own a venus flytrap. The frog will be released in anything from 2-6 hours.

If the leaves can't fully close, the plant wont be able to digest what's inside. As soon as the plant senses that the inside environment isn't air-tight, the "muscles" keeping things shut will slowly release what's inside.

  • [-]
  • Cool_Muhl
  • 7 Points
  • 14:56:20, 17 May

Let's have a biologist AMA!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 23 Points
  • 15:02:38, 17 May

Here it is!

Don't be fooled, though, I'm still answering questions until the thread archives and locks permanently, so keep 'em coming if you've go them!

  • [-]
  • syn69
  • 12 Points
  • 15:14:59, 17 May

You must be the nicest person in the universe. I love your passion with biology!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 12 Points
  • 15:23:31, 17 May

Haha, thanks!

  • [-]
  • satanismyhomeboy
  • 13 Points
  • 14:36:58, 17 May

That's an awfully slow death...

I still hope he made it out.

  • [-]
  • shakewell
  • 30 Points
  • 14:44:24, 17 May

It's ok, he used a thermal detonator to blow up the trap and get himself out. His friend the grasshopper nurses him back to health, or something.

  • [-]
  • Korist
  • 5 Points
  • 14:45:43, 17 May

Well, hopefully he had a Mandolorian jetpack with him.

  • [-]
  • LetMeResearchThat4U
  • 2 Points
  • 14:43:02, 17 May

you forget that this was recorded, we must track down the photographer and ask them if they saved mister ribbits.

  • [-]
  • eldowns
  • 12 Points
  • 14:31:55, 17 May

Maybe he could just flex really hard.

  • [-]
  • sprucemoose00
  • 12 Points
  • 14:39:38, 17 May

"I'm just gonna flex real hard n bust outta here"

  • [-]
  • ratapatapat
  • 29 Points
  • 14:33:23, 17 May

Unidan to the rescue again. Reddit's own in-house biologist; keeping the world informed, one post at a time!!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 30 Points
  • 15:39:50, 17 May

Stay tuned for my eventual fall from grace!

  • [-]
  • bioemerl
  • 3 Points
  • 19:31:16, 17 May

You either die the hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.

  • [-]
  • Kenik
  • 3 Points
  • 21:40:26, 17 May

>You either die the hero or live long enough to see yourself become ~~a villain~~ Karmanaut.

  • [-]
  • damnshiok
  • 22 Points
  • 14:35:30, 17 May

And if you ever wonder how they make meat so freaking tender in restaurants, chances are it has been marinated with bromelain to break down the tough connective tissue.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 39 Points
  • 14:45:50, 17 May

Yup! It's especially good for tough cuts of meat (I used to be a cook before being a biologist) and you can also use papaya or even kiwi juice for a similar purpose!

  • [-]
  • Ratiqu
  • 6 Points
  • 15:55:16, 17 May

Is it the bromelain that makes your tongue hurt after just a few bites of pineapple?

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 12 Points
  • 15:57:46, 17 May

Yes!

  • [-]
  • SharkBaitDLS
  • 2 Points
  • 18:09:43, 17 May

> I used to be a cook before being a biologist

Good at cooking, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and articulate. What about you isn't awesome?

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 3 Points
  • 18:14:39, 17 May

Well, my room is pretty messy.

  • [-]
  • HoratiusCocles
  • 25 Points
  • 14:29:59, 17 May

Asking as a humble Biology undergrad, could you please share your knowledge on pitcher plants? Those are my favorite carnivorous plants.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 61 Points
  • 14:54:00, 17 May

Same kinda deal!

They've got some cool slippery substances on their outer rims to make it very difficult for insects to climb out, but there's some spiders that have evolved ways to essentially live inside of pitcher plants!

They'll put a line of webbing outside the plant and essentially rappel in and out of the plant to fish out trapped insects, which is pretty awesome!

Here's a picture I took of some!

  • [-]
  • bitsculpt
  • 10 Points
  • 15:26:05, 17 May

I have jumped into these plants in final fantasy 7 .. they just spit you out :D

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 12 Points
  • 15:40:09, 17 May

Just like real life!

  • [-]
  • SchroCat
  • 3 Points
  • 15:04:31, 17 May

Tricksy spiders, that's ridiculously ingenious!

  • [-]
  • MyersVandalay
  • 2 Points
  • 17:42:22, 17 May

How long can, or do the pitcher plants live with said spiders living in them? or do the spiders switch plants regularly, or how does that work exactly? Logically it would seem the lack of nutrients problem would show up here. Does the spider generally let the insects soak long enough for the pitcher to get enough nutrients before it is stolen from it, it sounds conceptually quite a bit like Cymothoa exigua, Only far less horrifying to a human's mind simply because we imagine plants and animals in such different ways. Though for the plant it could be far worse (Since the louse can only take tiny bits of the fish's food, while spiders traditionally are known for eating the entirety of the meal that falls into the trap they are using)

  • [-]
  • aldenhg
  • 2 Points
  • 18:39:09, 17 May

Nepenthes are cool and all, but don't forget Sarracenia, Heliamphora, Darlingtonia and Cephalotus! Sarracenia and Darlingtonia exude a sweet, intoxicating sap that lures insects to the tops of their traps, only to have them fall and drown when they get sleepy from the componds in said sap. Darlingtonia even go a little further, having the trap partially enclosed and surrounded by windows that disorient insects and draw them towards the danger zone.

Also, you gotta love Drosera. I've got a few in my office window and one is flowering right now. I've got a camera on them taking pictures every 2 minutes and will have a pretty badass timelapse in a week or two when it's done flowering. It will be submitted to /r/SavageGarden when it's done.

  • [-]
  • IndyDude11
  • 19 Points
  • 14:38:48, 17 May

No, HoratiusCocles, we will not do your homework for you!

  • [-]
  • CantHearYou
  • 21 Points
  • 14:57:18, 17 May

Please share your knowledge about these fascinating plants. Can you also relate it to the socioeconomic stresses on the environment? Would like the response to be 2-3 pages, in Times New Roman size 12 and citations are required. Thanks! Just really curious about these type of plants.

  • [-]
  • gnovos
  • 2 Points
  • 17:13:15, 17 May

I'm curious about this too! Could you also include two paragraphs about how what impact human encroachment into this environment is having on global warming? Man, these plants are fascinating.

  • [-]
  • edtheinfidel
  • 2 Points
  • 15:27:10, 17 May

sarracenia actually excrete nectar at the lips to attract prey. it looks like snail slime. once the prey is attracted, it goes further down the tube. what keeps the prey from escaping, are little hairs that point downward, making it difficult for anything to climb back up. if you're truly more interested in sarracenia, there are also napenthes which are the known species to digest mice, and bigger prey. source: i grow sarracenia, drosera and multiple other carnivorous plants. it's a fun hobby.

  • [-]
  • aculeus99
  • 12 Points
  • 14:27:45, 17 May

Fascinating, I did not know that about pineapples.

  • [-]
  • I_Pee_Sitting_Up
  • 39 Points
  • 14:33:18, 17 May

Would you like to subscribe to Pineapple Facts?

  • [-]
  • aculeus99
  • 3 Points
  • 17:40:51, 17 May

No, thank you. I have some passing experience with your sister service "cat facts" and I have no desire to repeat that experience.

  • [-]
  • demisemiquav3r
  • 4 Points
  • 14:34:32, 17 May

have you ever seen a pineapple farm? i went my whole life not knowing where pineapples grew from.

  • [-]
  • Kamikasi
  • 10 Points
  • 14:34:45, 17 May

If you ever start a youtube-channel, please let me know so I can subscribe!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 56 Points
  • 14:43:06, 17 May

Here you go!

I'm also in talks with Reddit as a whole with possibly starting a video series in the future!

  • [-]
  • Kamikasi
  • 8 Points
  • 14:58:05, 17 May

Holy crap that's amazing, thanks for sharing. After watching a few of the videos though, I need to request a lot more of the excited commentary we read here on reddit.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 22 Points
  • 15:01:36, 17 May

Haha, that's the plan for the upcoming series, I think! I feel like my narration will in no way live up to the expectation of my voice, but hey, that's life.

Glad you enjoyed the videos!

  • [-]
  • ichabodguitar
  • 10 Points
  • 14:35:01, 17 May

I never knew pineapple was a bromeliad...though I should've guessed by the leaves. You are my favorite Redditor, this post just reinforced it!

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 29 Points
  • 14:42:40, 17 May

Yup! The cupping on a pineapple is a little less severe than other bromeliads.

Speaking of which, here's a photo of a lovely bromeliad I photographed not too long ago!

  • [-]
  • The-Face-Of-Awkward
  • 9 Points
  • 14:32:42, 17 May

Don't figs do a similar thing in that they digest wasps to help spur growth?

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 15 Points
  • 14:57:45, 17 May

Figs actually rely on the wasps for pollination!

The fig that you eat is actually a sort of inside out flower that housed all of the wasp eggs. When the wasp crawls into the fig, they're brushed with pollen so when they travel to the next flower, they pollinate it!

  • [-]
  • Telsiph
  • 8 Points
  • 14:34:27, 17 May

I'm afraid of pineapple now. I need someone to help me defend myself against fresh fruit.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 37 Points
  • 14:45:08, 17 May

Bromelain is why if you eat too much fresh pineapple, you'll get a sore tongue! It's...literally dissolving your tongue.

  • [-]
  • kevro
  • 5 Points
  • 15:18:35, 17 May

And we all know what happens once your tongue is disolved!

  • [-]
  • goatcoat
  • 6 Points
  • 14:48:33, 17 May

This is also why they tell you not to add fresh pineapple to jello: it breaks down the jello and prevents it from setting. To see this for yourself, cut a small piece of fresh pineapple, set it on top of a piece of jello, and watch.

To make delicious pineapple jello, just boil the pineapple chunks first. This neutralizes the enzyme.

  • [-]
  • [deleted]
  • 13 Points
  • 14:39:12, 17 May

[deleted]

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 3 Points
  • 14:56:19, 17 May

I'm wayyy less up-front about my dubious statistics.

If you were to run a Mann-Whitney test to see which of us has the more incorrect stats, I can only hope that the P-value is under an alpha of 0.05.

  • [-]
  • ive_noidea
  • 7 Points
  • 14:34:41, 17 May

Alright I gotta ask and you seem the most versed on this topic, how hard is that plant clamping down? I mean it looked like there was no way itd catch a frog that big (relatively speaking, of course) that completely, let alone hold it in there. What kinda force are Venus Fly Traps hittin with?

  • [-]
  • serenamn
  • 3 Points
  • 14:35:17, 17 May

TIL Pineapples are badass. "You try to eat my leaves. I will dissolve you."

Thank you, science!

  • [-]
  • jebuz23
  • 10 Points
  • 14:37:23, 17 May

Thanks so much for your educational response, but I think we also need to include the philosophy of the vegetarian. Some vegetarians (or at least those who claim to be, I call them pescetarians.) still eat fish. Others (such as myself) are much stricter, but not strict enough to be considered vegan. For example, I don't drink Guinness because fish bladder (and thus an animal died) is used in the brewing process even though it doesn't end up in the final product. Of course, as you mentioned, to intentionally rule out any plant that kills animals as part of its life cycle, one would have to start ruling out other foods like pineapples. Personally, if there was a Venus fly trap farm that was buying frogs in bulk to feed their plants I probably would skip it, but if a frog accidentally got eaten by the plant I would chalk it up to nature and move on. Similar to how some animals will get killed by farming equipment during the harvest, but they aren't being intentionally killed.

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 25 Points
  • 14:40:42, 17 May

Totally understandable!

That said, when nutrient cycling comes into play, you have to draw a line somewhere, otherwise it becomes ridiculous!

What about tree fruits that you like that may have had a rabbit die nearby and absorbed the nutrients from its decomposition? Plants may take up animal protein once it is released as ammonium ions or converted to nitrate in the soil!

  • [-]
  • WONT_CAPITALIZE_i
  • 7 Points
  • 14:28:37, 17 May

i have you tagged as best biologist, now i know why.

  • [-]
  • Belaires
  • 8 Points
  • 14:31:27, 17 May

I have "biologist and cook"

  • [-]
  • Unidan
  • 19 Points
  • 14:56:45, 17 May

It's true!

  • [-]
  • Bassie93
  • 3 Points
  • 14:35:34, 17 May

I now tagged him as "Enthousiastic biologist!".

  • [-]
  • rev2sev
  • 3 Points
  • 14:37:57, 17 May

Poor Spongebob, he had no idea...

  • [-]
  • Deepwater_Zenith
  • 2 Points
  • 15:00:30, 17 May

Can you talk a little about rainforests being nutrient poor? Given all the decomposing plant matter and whatnot, I would expect it to be the opposite. Unless you mean the plant's access to sunlight, which I'm sure is limited due to the forest canopy.

Edit. Whoops, just saw your response to /u/Lobrian011235. Thanks for the great explanation!

  • [-]
  • Revtix
  • 2 Points
  • 15:44:35, 17 May

http://i.imgur.com/qJq1hsG.jpg

  • [-]
  • gutterboy
  • 2 Points
  • 15:56:04, 17 May

Wegmans ftw.

  • [-]
  • sethboy66
  • 2 Points
  • 16:27:05, 17 May

Thank you for your well worded response. But could you elaborate on the state of the tomato. Is it a fruit or a vegetable?

  • [-]
  • whom
  • 2 Points
  • 19:01:09, 17 May

Wegmans! Hooray!

  • [-]
  • keesh
  • 2 Points
  • 19:24:27, 17 May

I was really hoping you'd be here - thanks for the cool information about pineapples. I have a quick question concerning the frog and the Venus Fly Trap - about how long do you wager it would take for the plant to digest that frog?

  • [-]
  • D14BL0
  • 2 Points
  • 19:55:30, 17 May

Are the enzymes produced by pineapple leaves harmful to humans in any way, as well? Or is our skin tough enough to withstand it?

  • [-]
  • babyluvangie
  • 2 Points
  • 20:02:59, 17 May

Awesome! Didn't know that about pineapples. My favorite carnivorous plant has always been the pitcher plant! Now I have a second favorite

  • [-]
  • filkinsteez
  • 2 Points
  • 21:12:39, 17 May

Wegmans is the shittttt