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Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 386
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - 9:00 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It sensed its prey. It would have been a simple task to lure the prey into a trap. At another time, it would have. But not this time. Why not?

Note: this is another puzzle about biology/ecology. No people are involved. You do not have to figure out the exact species of the predator or the prey - just the concept of what is going on and why
Alhucema (Alhucema)
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Post Number: 923
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Posted on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - 9:10 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It - a mammal? A bird? A fish? An insect? A germ?

Samw question for the prey.

Are there only two specimens involved?
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 389
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Posted on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - 9:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It - a mammal? A bird? A fish? An insect? A germ? none of the above

Prey - insect

Are there only two specimens involved? no
Alhucema (Alhucema)
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Posted on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - 9:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It - amphibian? A lizard? A snake?

Did it happen now ? In the prehistoric times?
Noel (Noel)
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Post Number: 390
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Posted on Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - 9:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It - amphibian? A lizard? A snake? none of these

Did it happen now ? In the prehistoric times? both
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 09, 2009 - 2:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It - a carnivorous plant? Is the weather/temperature relevant?
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 394
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Posted on Wednesday, September 09, 2009 - 3:03 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It - a carnivorous plant? yes Is the weather/temperature relevant? indirectly
Biograd (Biograd)
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Post Number: 421
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Posted on Wednesday, September 09, 2009 - 7:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was it no longer simple to trap the prey because:
The prey had learned to avoid landing on the plant? It could land on the plant without getting trapped/could break itself free?

Is it a Venus flytrap? another plant that physically traps the insect by closing? a pitcher plant? a similar plant that drowns the insect in water?
Noel (Noel)
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Posted on Wednesday, September 09, 2009 - 7:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Was it no longer simple FA, see below to trap the prey because:
The prey had learned to avoid landing on the plant? It could land on the plant without getting trapped/could break itself free?
Sorry, pronoun confusion in the puzzle statement. Read [At another time it would have] as [at another time the plant would have trapped the prey] not [at another time it would have been simple]

Is it a Venus flytrap? another plant that physically traps the insect by closing? a pitcher plant? this one a similar plant that drowns the insect in water?
Biograd (Biograd)
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Post Number: 422
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Posted on Friday, September 11, 2009 - 2:20 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So the plant could have trapped the insect, even this time? but it was in the survival interest of the plant NOT to trap the insect this time?
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 431
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Posted on Friday, September 11, 2009 - 2:41 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So the plant could have trapped the insect, even this time? Actually, no. Sorry. I was so focused last time on the fact that I wasn't clear about what "at this time it would have" meant that I didn't pay enough attention to the rest of your question. Apologies!

Clarifications:
The plant was not able to trap the insect.
The insect was able to land on the plant without getting trapped.

but it was in the survival interest of the plant NOT to trap the insect this time? yes
Biograd (Biograd)
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Post Number: 423
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Posted on Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 12:33 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So the plant was unable to trap the insect this time? but even if it had been able to, it would not have helped the plant?

Was the change since "another time" on the part of the plant? the insect? both?
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 442
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Posted on Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 3:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

So the plant was unable to trap the insect this time? correct but even if it had been able to, it would not have helped the plant?yope

Was the change since "another time" on the part of the plant? this one the insect? both?
Markobr (Markobr)
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Post Number: 181
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Posted on Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 10:56 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is this about the plant needing the insect alive for pollination?
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 444
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Posted on Saturday, September 12, 2009 - 5:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is this about the plant needing the insect alive for pollination? yes, that's pretty much it

SPOILER

Pitcher plants are a carnivorous plant. Eating insects allows them to live in low nutrient environments (areas low in nitrogen and phosphorus, mostly). When these nutrients are scarce, they grow pitcher-shaped leaves. Insects are lured into the pitchers and digested by the plants.

However, pitcher plants are also plants that depend on insect pollination. But pollination isn't very effective if you eat the insect that's carrying your pollen! Therefore, some species of pitcher plants have evolved elaborate mechanisms to keep themselves from digesting their pollinators. For example, some species grow their flowers far away from the pitchers.

However, the pitcher plant species in this puzzle is one that uses timing to avoid eating its pollinators. Flowers grow early in the spring, and the pitchers don't grow until later in the year.

While it wasn't the scenario in the puzzle, it also would work if a pitcher plant stopped producing the digestive liquid in its pitchers during the spring. Or, given that one of the ways pitcher plants attract insects is smell, it would also work if a plant didn't produce the attractive smell while its flower was blooming.

In retrospect, I probably could have said "yesish" to the question about survival interests, since it's really the survival interests of the plant's offspring at issue rather than of the plant itself.
Jenburdoo (Jenburdoo)
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Post Number: 1392
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Posted on Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 9:03 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I really like this one! I was starting to think it could also be because while a plant is digesting its prey, it can't catch something new. (A flytrap is closed, for example.)
Nimue (Nimue)
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Username: Nimue

Post Number: 4770
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Posted on Monday, September 14, 2009 - 12:00 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I like this one, too, because my first published short story had the title "Not This Time"!
Noel (Noel)
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Username: Noel

Post Number: 449
Registered: 7-2009
Posted on Monday, September 14, 2009 - 12:53 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Pitcher plants can digest more than one at a time because they're just a big open-topped pitcher full of liquid. But you're right, that solution would have fit the puzzle statement, too, Jen, and certainly fit with most of the answers so far.

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