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科學美國人:哪種蛇的毒性更強?

kira86 于2019-06-17發布 l 已有人瀏覽
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蛇的毒性并非都一樣強,某些蛇的毒液只夠殺死幾只老鼠,而另一些蛇的毒液足夠殺死50個成年人?為何蛇的毒性存在如此大的差異?請看本期科學美國人的報道。
    小E英語歡迎您,請點擊播放按鈕開始播放……

Harder-Working Snakes Pack Stronger Venom

好動的蛇含有更強的毒液

Movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Snakes on a Plane and even Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets have all relied on the fear of snakes to build suspense and anxiety. About a third of all people are at least a bit phobic about snakes.

像《奪寶奇兵》、《航班蛇患》甚至《哈利波特與密室》這樣的電影都是靠對蛇的恐懼來制造懸念和焦慮的。所有人中,約三分之一的人至少有點怕蛇。

Some of the distress when it comes to the slithering serpents comes from their unpredictable movement patterns. But the fear also stems from knowing that, well, snake bites do kill a lot of people - perhaps as many as 94,000 people annually.

就蟒蛇而論,一些痛苦是源自蟒蛇不可預知的移動路線。但恐懼也源于知道毒蛇咬傷導致許多人死亡——死于毒蛇咬傷的人估計每年多達94000人。

But not all snake venom is created equal. Some snakes have venom only strong enough to kill a couple of mice. On the other hand, there's "the inland taipan in Australia, which is incredibly venomous. It has enough potent venom to kill about 50 adults. Humans."

但并不是所有蛇毒的毒性都一樣強。某些蛇的毒液只夠殺死幾只老鼠。而另一方面,還有“澳大利亞毒性超強的內陸太攀蛇,它那毒性超強的毒液足足可以殺死約50個成年人。”

Kevin Healy, a lecturer in zoology at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

凱文·希利是愛爾蘭國立高威大學(the National University of Ireland, Galway)的一名動物學講師。

He wanted to know why snake venom toxicity varied so much, so he and his team looked at 102 different venomous snakes species. They examined how much venom the snakes had as well as what they ate and what kind of habitat they lived in. The key finding:

他想知道為什么蛇毒的毒性差異如此之大,所以他和團隊觀察了102種不同的毒蛇。他們研究了這些蛇有多少毒液,以及這些毒蛇吃什么,住在什么樣的棲息地。關鍵的發現是:

Bigger snakes have more venom, in general. But the amount of the increase of that venom increases basically according to how much energy you burn per second, not how big your prey is, as you'd expect.

“一般而言,體積較大的蛇毒液更多。但毒液量的增加并不是如預期所想的由獵物的體積大小而決定的,而基本上是根據每秒消耗的能量而增加的。”

The study was in the journal Ecology Letters.

這項研究發表在《生態學快報》雜志上。

The researchers also found snakes that inhabited three-dimensional environments that include things like trees and water had less venom than snakes that live two-dimensionally - that is, on the ground.

研究人員還發現,生活在有樹有水的三維環境中的蛇,比生活在二維環境(即地面)上的蛇的毒液要少。

Our guess is that that comes back to encounter rate. So if you live in a 3D environment, just the pure physics of living in a 3D environment means you will bump into more things. And so what that means is you might not need this really large reservoir of venom to kind of ensure that if you miss a prey item, that you have something for the next time because you're not going to get to encounter individuals that often.

“我們的猜測是,這與遇難率有關。假如你(毒蛇)生活在三維環境中,僅僅是生活三維環境中的純物理效應就意味著你(毒蛇)會遇到更多的東西。所以這意味著你(毒蛇)可能不需要那么大的毒蛇儲存庫來確保如果你錯過了獵物,下次就沒有東西吃了,因為你會經常遇到獵物。”

Whereas the 2D-dwelling snakes need to make sure that when they get a chance for a meal, their venom will pack a punch. Of course, only about a quarter of all snake species have venom at all. Keeping that in mind may make it possible to be braver than Indiana Jones - when it comes to snakes, at least. You should still be very scared to crawl under a moving truck.

而生活在二維環境中的蛇則需要確保當它們有機會進食時,它們的毒液會產生強烈的毒性。當然,只有約四分之一的蛇類有毒液,記住這一點可能會讓你比印第安納·瓊斯(《奪寶奇兵》系列電影的主角)更勇敢——至少在蛇的問題上。但你你應該繼續非常害怕從移動的卡車下爬過去。

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