A Moth with a Potent Cocktail of Poison

时间:2017-11-04 单词数:3390

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Meet the wood tiger moth. Its bright yellow, red, or orange scales send a warning to potential predators.

偶遇虎木蛾(Wood tiger moth)。虎木蛾(Wood tiger moth)外表有鲜亮的黄色、红色或者橙色鳞状纹路,这种外表可以对潜在的捕食者发出警告信息。


"These wonderful conspicuous colors tend to be connected, or linked, to some sort of chemical defense. So when we see the reaction of the birds to them, then we got interested in studying in more detail the chemical defenses per se."


Biologist Bibiana Rojas from Finland’s University of Jyv?skyl?.

生物学家Bibiana Rojas,来自芬兰Jyv?skyl?大学。

Animals that pair visual warnings with other defenses are called aposematic. If a hungry predator were to try chowing down on this moth, it would find a mouthful of nasty-tasting, possibly even toxic, bug parts.

这种把视觉警告和其他防卫结合在一起的动物颜色称为警戒色。如果饥饿的捕食者尝试吃下这种虎木蛾(Wood tiger moth)时,会发现满嘴恶臭,甚至可能中这种昆虫的毒。


Rojas and her team found that the wood tiger moth secretes nasty fluids from glands on its neck and from its abdomen. At first glance, this seems like a fairly routine sort of defensive strategy. After all, nature is full of redundant processes.


But the researchers discovered that the wood tiger moth is the first species known in which the different fluids from the different parts of the moths’ body each target a different type of predator.


The fluids from the moth’s abdomen deter ants, but are completely useless against birds. Meanwhile, the neck fluids are unpalatable to birds, but don’t bother ants. In fact, the ants actually preferred this fluid to sugar water. The finding is in the Proceedings of the Royal Society: B

虎木蛾腹部分泌的液体可以阻止蚂蚁的入侵,但却对鸟类完全不起作用。同时,颈部分泌的液体令鸟类食之难咽,而对蚂蚁却不起作用。实际上,蚂蚁对此种液体却爱若甘饴。该发现刊登在了Proceedings of the Royal Society: B杂志中。


So we now have the first example of an animals having multiple, independent chemical defenses. But is it truly unique?

这样, 我们目前就了解到了具有多种独立的化学防卫的首个动物样例。但它是独一无二的吗?

"We think that this just opens the possibility that there are more species that have this, we just need to get the evidence for that."


Which means looking beyond just…looking.


"We, as humans, are very visual. Everything that excites us comes mostly by our eyes. We want to highlight with this study that there is a whole world of chemical stimuli that we perhaps have been overlooking just because we can not detect and we can not perceive the way that other animals do."


来源:Scientific American爱语吧作者:Alex Lee 187