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O_liver's avatar

Is there an animal on earth that moves so slowly that it could see the plants grow around it?

Asked by O_liver (24 points ) April 27th, 2012

I’m wondering about that awhile. I saw a documentary about fast animals and there was a fly they say it moves so quick when it walks!, that it has to stop every few centimeters to let the visual information arrive to its brain. Then the fly attains back to orientation and does the next move.

I know that some plants grow half meter a day like seaweed/kelp that gets much light under the water surface. So i was thinking about the opposite of that fast fly in the documentary.

I think the fly don’t know about it’s fastness and equally that probably slowest animal has no interest in viewing all that plants grow around him, because it is looking for food or just has to survive the day. One last thing. I want to know if this animal could really see the plants grow around it, not “just” feel it like a snail or something with other comparable senses.

This is my first question friends, hope you’ll understand my point I found a link to the giant kelp but nothing about that fly, I’m sorry. If you have, please share.

All the best.
O_liver

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11 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I don’t think so. Growth is imperceptible where having to stop and process info. because one is moving too fast is not that uncommon, I do it every day, having an ultra fast brain I need to stop and let the information catch up/settle. lol

SpatzieLover's avatar

Sloths grow algae because of their slow nature.

ETpro's avatar

I’m just guessing here too. We can’t really tell much about what an animal is seeing, since we can’t look through its eyes or ask it what it has seen. The 3-toed sloth moves very slowly and does have eyes capable of seeing plants. They must be interested in plants, as the tender shoots, buds and leaves of primarily the Cecropia tree. The male sloth lives in a single Cecropia tree for its entire life, so it has plenty of time to see it grow. But I am thinking it would take time-lapse photography to “see” the growth of a plant. While its true that very fast animals appear to be able to see action that slower things like humans miss, no animal has a survival need to see movement as slow as plant growth.

WestRiverrat's avatar

It would depend on the plant too. Some bamboo can grow a meter a day, even patient humans can watch it at that speed.

syz's avatar

Coral grows extremely slowly, but it’s also made up of many tiny individuals, so I don’t think it qualifies in quite the manner that you mean.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@WestRiverrat Actually that’s a great point.

Humans can go out into the garden or if lucky enough to live near a farm, go out to a field after a rain and see and hear the corn growing.

Sunny2's avatar

Most animals that move that slowly wouldn’t have eyes to see. I’m watching a plant develop a leaf that grows maybe a half inch a day. I have no idea if that even fits in here. I have to learn not to try to answer questions late at night.

gondwanalon's avatar

I don’t know if scale insects are able to “see” plants grow around them but it is definitely possible that they can sense plant growth under them.

Female scale insects move very very slowly and some attach themselves to plant parts. Most species of scale insect females have no legs or eyes and either no antennae or they are greatly reduced. However “Cochineal Scale” females (Family Dactylopiidae) have tiny eyes, antennae and legs. See here

You just have to wonder what such an animal feels and sees in it’s strange tiny world.

ETpro's avatar

@gondwanalon That’s a fascinating point. I’d guess they are more likely to feel the growth than see it.

O_liver's avatar

Thank you jellies for your answers!
@WestRiverrat thank you for that pespective. I remember i was doing that as a child and really i saw a plant grow a little bit but had nearly forgotten it today.
I’ll try that again my next visit at the botanic garden, promise! :)

I was thinking about the question the last days and ask freinds what they think.
Thus I had a few ideas. I heard about in the arabic world bamboo was used as an instrument of torture, So I’m sure that the person see every millimeter the plant grows through its body.Not say nothing of feeling it too.
Relating to the evolutioary need behind my question another ideas is that some animals aren’t able to climb. It sit down on a special plant (it knows/recognizes) to get to the tall tree where their preferred food is growing. Maybe the animal usually lives in that tree but when it falls of that is the only way to get back up where the food is growing.

Next Idea is a spider that lives in a sand hole waiting for prey. This could take a long time, days in fact. It stares all the time at the framed sourrounding ot of its den. It changes every day too. Does the spider notice that?

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