Africa’s Largest Mammal Is Terrified of This Tiny Insect 非洲最大哺乳動物懼怕這種小昆蟲

 

精英翻譯社轉自http://iservice.ltn.com.tw/Service/english/english.php?engno=1229333&day=2018-09-03

 

◎劉宜庭

 

Researchers in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park discovered that African bush elephants steer clear of angry honeybees. They hope to use that trait as a strategy to keep elephants away from human-populated areas.

 

南非克魯格國家公園的研究人員發現,非洲草原象會繞開被激怒的蜜蜂。他們希望以這項特徵為策略,讓象群遠離人口稠密地區。

 

Honeybees release chemical substances called pheromones when they sense a threat. For the bees, these natural alarm signals tell their buddies to come help and act defensively, i.e., sting, according to the Nieh Lab at the University of California San Diego. Humans seem to lack pheromone receptors, so it’s likely that they can’t detect such chemical cues, but elephants can.

 

蜜蜂受到威脅時,會釋放被稱為費洛蒙的化學物質。美國加州大學聖地牙哥分校「鑷實驗室」指出,對蜜蜂來說,這類天然警示訊號可通知同伴前來救援,並採取防禦行動,亦即亮出螫針。人類似乎缺乏這類費洛蒙的受器,因而無法察覺相關化學訊號,但大象可以。

 

To test this theory, the researchers placed a sock filled with a slow-release matrix containing a blend of honeybee alarm pheromones near a watering hole frequented by the park’s elephants. They watched 25 of 29 elephants approach the sock and briefly inspect it from a distance before backing away in fear. However, the elephants acted carefree around a similar-looking control sock that was clear of pheromones.

 

為了驗證這項假說,研究人員在這座國家公園內大象經常出沒的水坑周邊,放置可緩慢釋放出蜜蜂示警費洛蒙混合物的襪子。他們觀察29隻接近襪子的大象,其中有25隻在遠處檢視過襪子後,就害怕地慢慢往後退。然而,在外型類似但沒有費洛蒙的控制組襪子周遭,大象卻表現自在。

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