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






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.




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.




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.



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