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Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 7:04 pm    Post subject: Snap-Tentacles and Runway Lights DVD

DVD-Rezension von Victor Brown (CPSUK, Vereinigtes Königreich):
'Drosera : Snap-Tentacles and Runway Lights' a review

I received my copy of Siggi and Irmgard Hartmeyer’s latest ‘Hunting Veggies’ DVD yesterday and it’s fantastic; I can recommend it to all CPers with an interest in sundews and it’s an absolute 'must watch' for real Drosera fans! This film doesn’t just have lots of nice pictures; it’s a fascinating and thought-provoking investigation that’s taken several years of hard work to put together.

After a short introduction the first three parts DVD combine amazingly detailed macro, micro, time-lapse and habitat photography to tell the story of the rapidly moving, non-glandular, outer, marginal tentacles of some sundews, for which the filmmakers have coined the term, ‘Snap-Tentacles’. The first section concentrates on the three species for which rapidly moving marginal tentacles are well-known; D. burmannii, D. sessilifolia and the incredibly fast D. glanduligera. One of the highlights of this section is the entertaining ‘Speed Contest’ where with some clever video tricks, D. glanduligera and the Venus Fly Trap, Dionaea muscipula, are shown to be evenly matched in speed of movement!

The next two parts deal with all of the Sections of the genus Drosera; first all those found in Australia and then those found over the rest of the planet. In all, there are detailed (macro and micro photography) investigations of 53 species. The results of this investigation are, for me at least, the most fascinating part of the DVD; I’ll never look at a sundew in the same way! I won’t spoil it for you by précising them here - watch the film! These sections end with a discussion of the possible evolutionary implications of this study – yet more food for thought!

The fourth section focuses on (pun intended!) the yellow protuberances found on the recently described species, Drosera hartmeyerorum ; a species named after the Hartmeyers by Dr Jan Schlauer. There has been a lot of speculation about the function of these modified tentacles since they were discovered a few years ago. For example, it has been postulated that they are insect egg mimics and that this helps attract prey. However, after you’ve seen this film I’m sure you’ll be convinced, as I was, that these organs, which consist of an arrangement of transparent, hollow giant cells, around a bright yellow centre, really do act as the ‘Runway Light’s’ of the film’s title, luring insect prey to their doom.

Without a doubt this DVD is the best thing that been on my TV for quite a while, the only quibble I have is that the music can get a bit distracting. If you are going to the ICPS Conference then you’ll have the chance to make up your own mind, as it’s being shown in the evening after the Reception on 1st June, no doubt they’ll be plenty of discussion afterwards too! I believe that the German CP society, are showing it at the EEE in Bonn in September too. I’ve got permission to show it at a CPS meetings in the UK as well; so I’ll try to get it shown at the End of Season Meeting at Wisley in September, but if the RHS don’t have technology (anyone got a portable video projector with sound?) then it won’t be until the AGM in Reading next April.

If you can’t wait that long or attend any of the these meetings, you can order it directly from the Hunting Veggies web site; it will be one of the best 17 Euro you’ll spend this year!
DVD-Rezension von Chiara di Biase (AIPC, Italien):

Irmgard e Siegfried Hartmeyer, Drosera: Snap-Tentacles and Runway Lights
Hunting Veggies
®, 2006. DVD in lingua tedesca e inglese, disponibile presso il sito www.hartmeyer.de

Recensione presentata in forma leggermente ridotta su AIPCMagazine 2 (2006); nei prossimi numeri della stessa rivista prodotte da AIPC (Associazione Italiana Piante Carnivore, www.aipcnet.it) appariranno le traduzioni di articoli degli stessi Hartmeyer relativi agli argomenti trattati in questo DVD.

Fare divulgazione, presentare studi scientifici, annunciare importanti scoperte relative all’affascinante mondo delle piante insettivore: con una solida base scientifica, pazienza e costanza, credo sia cosa alla portata di tutti. Più difficile è realizzare qualcosa che abbia sì sostanza, ma sia anche capace di attrarre e coinvolgere il pubblico, creando un’esperienza piacevole sotto tutti i punti di vista: questo è proprio il caso del DVD prodotto da Irmgard e Siegfried ‘Siggi’ Hartmeyer.

Devo dire che all'inizio non me l’aspettavo; ho infilato il disco nel lettore, pensando "Mah, speriamo che non sia troppo pesante", ma già i primi fotogrammi, l’accompagnamento musicale accattivante (creato appositamente), la grafica pulita mi hanno fatto capire che non sarei rimasta delusa, anzi.

Dal menù si accede a sei parti; cinque video dedicati alle drosere e uno extra, vedremo dopo in che senso.Cinque filmati sulle drosere, dunque, e sulle loro caratteristiche più eclatanti, di recente o recentissima scoperta: la voce narrante di Siggi ripercorre con noi il cammino dell’appassionato studioso che con pazienza, guidato anzitutto dallo stupore e dalla curiosità, scruta i meccanismi nascosti di questi piccoli gioielli della natura. L’ottima pronuncia, il ritmo equilibrato del parlato, mai affrettato, e la linearità dei periodi rendono a mio avviso il racconto comprensibile a tutti quanti abbiano una conoscenza almeno superficiale dell’inglese.

Aiutati dalle strepitose immagini di numerosi altri appassionati e studiosi (tra cui Barry A. Rice, Jan Schlauer, Regina Kettering Thomas Carow ed Elvis Pöhlmann), da quelle - meno definite - realizzate con un microscopio USB e da diversi video ed elaborazioni grafiche, ci facciamo piccoli piccoli per entrare nell'universo delle drosere. Scopriamo così cosa sono e come funzionano i tentacoli "a scatto" di alcune di esse (e grazie all'analisi di una ripresa video, scopriamo che in D. glanduligera scattano più rapidamente della trappola della dionea!), qual è la strategia di D. burmannii, a cosa servono le emergenze gialle dell'intrigante D. hartmeyerorum, e tanto altro... accorgendoci che l'osservazione attenta fornisce sì risposta alle domande che queste piante straordinarie pongono, ma anche che per ogni risposta data nuove domande e nuovi misteri si affacciano, misteri che non fanno che aumentare il fascino di questo grande genere.

L'ultima parte contiene l'estratto di un'intervista in cui Robert Cantley di Borneo Exotics illustra origini ed attività di questa notissima nursery e presenta le differenze morfologiche in Nepenthes ampullaria. L'intervista completa - o sarebbe meglio dire il racconto in video della cordiale visita degli Hartmeyer da Robert - è contenuta in un altro DVD della raccolta Hunting Veggies®, disponibile sempre sul sito.
In conclusione, si tratta secondo me di un'opera godibilissima, piacevole ed approfondita, che credo ogni appassionato di carnivore, anzi ogni amante della natura, sarebbe felice di avere.
DVD-Rezension von Chiara di Biase (AIPC, Italien) - English translation:

I. and S. Hartmeyer, Drosera: Snap-Tentacles and Runway Lights, Hunting Veggies®, 2006

To spread knowledge, to present scientific research on carnivorous plants, to announce new important findings about that amazing world: having a solid, scientific basis and working patiently and steadily, almost anyone can do this.

Much harder is to create something which has both "substance" and the capability to capture and involve the audience, offering a pleasant experience under all points of view: that exactly is what this DVD by Irmgard and Siegfried Hartmeyer succeeds in doing.

I had to discover this: as I put the DVD in the driver, I feared I might be confronted by something really difficult to understand and iper-specialistic, but the initial, the soundtrack and the neat graphics made me immediately understand that it would not fail me – on the contrary.

The main menu comprehends six videos: the first five deal with Droseras and their "plunder" characteristics, the last is about the Borneo Exotics nursery.

In the five parts about droseras and their more startling features, Siggi's voice involves the watcher into the trek of the enthusiastic scholar of insectivorous plants, who patiently, having as his main guide amazement and curiosity, peers at the hidden mechanisms of these little wonders. Perfect pronounce, balanced rhytm of the discourse and simplicity of sentences make the narration easily comprehensible for everyone who has even a shallow knowledge of the english language.

Accompanied by the fabolous images provided by many other CP enthusiasts and researchers (among which Barry A. Rice, Regina Kettering, Jan Schlauer, Thomas Carow and Elvis Phlmann), by those, less definite, made with an USB microscope and by several films and processed images, we become so small that we can enter into the droseras' universe, thus discovering what are the snap tentacles of diverse droseras and how they work (D. glanduligera's ones are faster than the Venus Flytrap's movement!), what "hunting strategy" has D. burmannii, why does D. hartmeyerorum have those strange, yellow emergencies... and every time we find an answer, new questions, and then new misteries, on this great genera crop out.

The last part is an extract from an interview with Robert Cantley, in which he talks about the origin and intentions of his famous nursery, Borneo Exotics, and explains the morphological variances in Nepenthes ampullaria.

In conclusion, this DVD is a very good work: pleasant, complete and rigorous. I think every CP fan would be very happy to have it.