2020年十大稀奇古怪的动物故事
10 bizarre animal stories of 2020
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2021-01-14 22:16
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火星译客

Penguins throw poop bombs, lemurs secrete a stinky perfume to woo mates and even the cutest of monkeys sometimes eat their own. When you study animals, you never quite know what oddball behaviors you might see. 

企鹅会扔粪便炸弹,狐猴会分泌恶臭的香水来求偶,甚至最可爱的猴子有时也会吃自己的东西。当你研究动物时,你永远不知道你可能会看到什么奇怪的行为。

Here are 10 of the weirdest animal stories that caught our eye in 2020. 

以下是2020年10个最奇怪的动物故事,它们吸引了我们的眼球。

Snakes feasting on toad organs 

蛇正在享用蟾蜍的器官

A small-banded kukri snake with its head inserted through the right side of the abdomen of an Asian black-spotted toad, in order to extract and eat the organs. Tissue of a collapsed lung (above, left), and possibly fat tissue, is covered by clear liquid that foams as it mixes with air bubbles from the lung. The upper part of the front leg is likewise covered by foaming blood, mixed with air bubbles from the collapsed lung.

(Image credit: Winai Suthanthangjai )

(图片来源:Winai Suthanthangjai)

Asian kukri snakes use their knifelike teeth to slice into toads' abdominal cavities and gobble down their organs, leaving little behind but an empty pouch of skin. The snakes sometimes spend hours gorging themselves on toad innards; specifically, scientists caught the snakes consuming poisonous toads called Duttaphrynus melanostictus, also known as Asian common toads or Asian black-spotted toads. The toads secrete a toxic white substance, so the scientists suspect that kukri snakes may have adopted their vicious eating strategy to avoid this poison. 

亚洲库克里蛇用它们刀一样的牙齿切进蟾蜍的腹腔,吞食它们的器官,只留下一个空的皮肤袋。蛇有时会花上几个小时来吃蟾蜍的内脏;具体地说,科学家们捕捉到这种蛇吃有毒的蟾蜍,这种蟾蜍被称为Duttaphrynus melanostictus,也被称为亚洲普通蟾蜍或亚洲黑点蟾蜍。蟾蜍分泌一种有毒的白色物质,因此科学家们怀疑库克里蛇可能采用了它们恶毒的进食策略来避免这种毒素。

Cannibalistic monkeys

同类相食的猴子

two white-faced capuchin monkeys in a tree

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

(图片来源:Shutterstock)

White-faced capuchin monkeys (Cebus imitator) look absolutely darling, with their deep brown eyes and tiny faces ringed with white fur — but sometimes, these adorable creatures will cannibalize their own kin. When an infant monkey fell from a tree in the Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica, its relatives gathered around the corpse in interest. Soon enough, a young male and a pregnant female began nibbling at the infant's legs and feet. In the end, they left only the head, chest and arms untouched. When hunting prey animals, the capuchins would usually consume an entire animal in one sitting and as a group, rather than just two monkeys eating part of the part; because of this, scientists suspect cannibalism may be unusual behavior for white-faced capuchins. 

白脸卷尾猴(Cebus模仿者)看起来非常可爱,它们有着深棕色的眼睛,小脸上环绕着白色的皮毛——但有时,这些可爱的生物会吃掉自己的同类。在哥斯达黎加的圣罗莎国家公园,一只小猴子从树上摔了下来,它的亲戚们围在它的尸体周围,很感兴趣。很快,一只年轻的雄性和一只怀孕的雌性开始啃食婴儿的腿和脚。最后,他们只留下头部、胸部和手臂未受影响。在捕猎猎物时,卷尾猴通常会一次吃掉一整只动物,作为一个群体,而不是两只猴子只吃一部分;正因为如此,科学家们怀疑白面卷尾猴同类相食可能是不寻常的行为。

Panda courtship caught on camera 

熊猫求偶被镜头捕捉

Three-year-old giant panda up a tree in the Wolong Panda Center, China.

(Image credit: Photo by Jacky Poon/Copyright Terra Mater Factual Studios and Mark Fletcher Productions)

(图片来源:Jacky Poon /版权Terra Mater Factual Studios和Mark Fletcher Productions摄)

After three years tracking pandas through China's Qinling Mountains, filmmakers caught two male bears vying for the attention of a female. This is the first time this courtship behavior has been captured on film, and if you expected something cute and cuddly, you'd be sorely mistaken. The two males squared off at the foot of a tree, fighting and bellowing while the female sat in the branches above. The older of the males won this initial skirmish, but when the female clambered down, she managed to slip away. Both males continued to trail the female for several weeks until, finally, the younger male won out.   

在中国秦岭追踪大熊猫三年之后,电影人捕捉到两只雄熊在争夺雌熊的注意。这是这种求偶行为第一次被拍到,如果你以为它很可爱,让人想抱抱,那你就大错特错了。两只雄企鹅在一棵树下摆好架势,互相争斗,怒吼,而雌企鹅则坐在树枝上。年长的雄性赢得了最初的胜利,但当雌性爬下来时,她设法溜走了。两只雄性都继续跟踪雌性数周,直到最后,年轻的雄性胜出。

Penguin poop bombs 

企鹅便便炸弹

When penguins are pooping, you'd better stand back.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

(图片来源:Shutterstock)

Penguins can shoot their poop across great distances, up to about twice their body lengths, and scientists calculated exactly how much force they require to do so. The team specifically looked at Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti), which spew their feces in a graceful arc from their nests on high ground. They calculated that the pressure generated in the penguins' rectums was as much  roughly 4 pounds per square inch (28.2 kilopascals). That means the powerful poopers can fling their feces at about 5 mph (8 km/h) and up to roughly 53 inches (134 centimeters) away. 

企鹅可以将便便射出很远的距离,最远可达身体长度的两倍,科学家们计算出了它们需要多大的力量才能做到这一点。研究小组专门研究了洪堡企鹅(Spheniscus humboldti),它们在高地的巢穴里以优美的弧线吐出粪便。他们计算出企鹅直肠产生的压力大约是每平方英寸4磅(28.2千帕斯卡)。这意味着强大的便便犬可以以每小时5英里(8公里/小时)的速度将粪便扔到53英寸(134厘米)远的地方。

'Godzilla' wasps lay their eggs in underwater caterpillars 

“哥斯拉”黄蜂在水下毛毛虫中产卵

The newly described microgastrine parasitoid wasp Microgaster godzilla

(Image credit: Jose Fernandez-Triana)

(图片来源:Jose Fernandez-Triana)

The Microgaster godzilla wasp earned its monstrous name from the way it hunts down hosts. The parasitic wasp dives underwater to capture moth caterpillars, which float just below the surface in homemade casings. One-by-one, the wasp wrestles the caterpillars out of their casings, drags them above water and quickly pumps them full of eggs. The way the wasp bursts from the water reminded the scientists of Godzilla emerging from the sea in classic sci-fi movies. 

巨蜥哥斯拉黄蜂得名于它捕食宿主的方式。寄生蜂潜入水下捕捉飞蛾幼虫,这些幼虫在自制的外壳中漂浮在水面下。黄蜂一个接一个地把幼虫从壳里拽出来,把它们拖出水面,然后迅速地给它们打满卵。黄蜂从水中跃出的方式让科学家们想起经典科幻电影中出现的哥斯拉(Godzilla)。

An eel's daring (and gross) escape 

鳗鱼的大胆逃亡

A heron likely regretted eating an American eel after the eel burst out of its stomach in midair.

(Image credit: Sam Davis)

(图片来源:Sam Davis)

A blue heron was flying over the Delaware shoreline when, suddenly, an American eel erupted from its gut. In photos captured by Sam Davis, an engineer from Maryland, the eel can be seen dangling off the bird like a fat necktie. After escaping the blue heron's belly, the daring eel may have survived — but only if it fell in or near water that was salty enough. The heron likely lived to fly another day, despite this gut-wrenching encounter.

一只蓝鹭正在特拉华州的海岸线上空飞行,突然,一条美国鳗鱼从它的肠子里冲了出来。在马里兰工程师山姆·戴维斯拍摄的照片中,可以看到鳗鱼像一条肥大的领带一样挂在鸟身上。从蓝鹭的肚子里逃出来后,这条大胆的鳗鱼可能活了下来——但只有在它掉进或靠近足够咸的水的情况下。这只苍鹭很可能还能再飞一天,尽管这次遭遇让它撕心裂肺。

Naked mole rats use carbon dioxide to avoid seizures 

裸鼹鼠用二氧化碳来避免癫痫发作

african naked mole rat

(Image credit: Roland Gockel)

(图片来源:Roland Gockel)

Naked mole rats live in crowded underground burrows with little oxygen, but that's no problem for these wrinkly weirdos. Rather than depending on oxygen, naked mole rats actually depend more on carbon dioxide; without it, their brains short-circuit and the critters have seizures. Due to a genetic mutation, the mole rats lack a switch in their brains that usually keeps electrical activity in check. This mutation allows the animals to conserve precious energy stores, and thankfully, high levels of carbon dioxide in their burrows suppresses brain activity in a different way, which normally saves the mole rats from seizures. 

裸鼹鼠生活在拥挤的、缺氧的地洞里,但对这些满脸皱纹的怪人来说,这不是问题。比起依赖氧气,裸鼹鼠更依赖二氧化碳;没有它,它们的大脑就会短路,小动物就会癫痫发作。由于基因突变,鼹鼠的大脑中缺少一个开关,这个开关通常能控制脑电活动。这种突变使鼹鼠能够保存宝贵的能量储备,而且谢天谢地,它们的洞穴中高浓度的二氧化碳以一种不同的方式抑制了大脑活动,这种方式通常能使鼹鼠免于癫痫发作。

Lemurs flirt using smelly love potion 

狐猴用发臭的爱情药水调情

Two ring-tailed lemurs sit together.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

(图片来源:Shutterstock)

Male ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) produce their own cologne from a gland in their wrists and douse their tails with the liquid during breeding season. These wrist secretions smell bitter and leathery most of the year, but come breeding season, the cologne takes on a sweeter, fruitier aroma. Scientists theorize that fluctuations in testos terone might drive this change in smell, and this may signal when a male is ready to mate. But while females show strong interest in the mating-season scent, it's unclear whether this smelly form of flirting actually makes males more desirable partners. 

雄性环尾狐猴(Lemur catta)在繁殖季节用手腕上的腺体分泌古龙水,并在尾巴上洒上古龙水。在一年的大部分时间里,这些手腕上的分泌物闻起来苦涩而坚韧,但到了繁殖季节,古龙水呈现出更甜、更果味的气味。科学家们推测,睾丸激素的波动可能会导致气味的变化,这可能是雄性准备好交配的信号。但是,虽然雌性对交配季节的气味表现出强烈的兴趣,但尚不清楚这种气味的调情形式是否真的会让雄性成为更受欢迎的伴侣。

Platypuses glow under UV light 

鸭嘴兽在紫外线下发光

Photographs of museum specimens in ultraviolet light revealed the platypus's secret glow.

(Image credit: Mammalia 2020; 10.1515/mammalia-2020-0027)

(图片来源:Mammalia 2020; 10.1515 / mammalia-2020-0027)

When scientists were studying old platypus specimens, they made a surprising discovery: under UV, the normally brown creatures emit a blue-green glow. Apart from the platypus, flying squirrels and opossums are the only other mammals known to display this kind of biofluorescence. The scientists discovered this glow after studying flying squirrels at the Field Museum in Chicago, when they decided to train their black lights on the duckbilled mammals as well, since both animals hunt at twilight and during the night. The  platypuses' green sheen might reduce their visibility to predators, the team hypothesizes, but more research is needed to confirm that theory. 

当科学家们研究古老的鸭嘴兽标本时,他们有了一个惊人的发现:在紫外线下,这种通常为棕色的动物会发出蓝绿色的光。除了鸭嘴兽,鼯鼠和负鼠是已知的仅有的能显示这种生物荧光的哺乳动物。科学家们是在芝加哥菲尔德博物馆(Field Museum)研究鼯鼠后发现了这种发光现象的,因为这两种动物都在黄昏和夜间捕食,所以他们决定把黑光灯也用在这种鸭嘴哺乳动物身上。鸭嘴兽的绿色光泽可能会降低食肉动物对它们的可见性,研究小组推测,但需要更多的研究来证实这一理论。

Mantis shrimp steal rival's homes 

螳螂虾偷对手的家

The "meral spread" is a display that mantis shrimp commonly use during contests.

(Image credit: Roy Caldwell)

(图片来源:Roy Caldwell)

The mantis shrimp Neogonodactylus bredini wield clublike arms, which they use to bully smaller shrimp out of their homes. The crustaceans, nicknamed "smashers," can swing their arms at 50 mph (80 km/h) and duke it out over coral burrows in the southern Caribbean Sea. In laboratory studies, scientists found that, if given a choice between empty burrows, the shrimp choose large, roomy ones that they could grow into. But when other shrimp take up house in the burrows, smashers tend to attack shrimp in small burrows most fiercely. Although the burrow might be a tight squeeze, the attacking shrimp likely knows that the occupant will be small and therefore easier to defeat, the researchers suggested.  

这种螳螂虾挥舞着棍棒一样的手臂,用它把较小的虾赶出它们的家。这种甲壳类动物,绰号“粉碎者”,可以以每小时50英里(80公里/小时)的速度挥动手臂,在南加勒比海的珊瑚洞穴上一争再斗。在实验室研究中,科学家们发现,如果让虾在空的洞穴中选择,它们会选择能够成长的大而宽敞的洞穴。但当其他虾占据洞穴时,粉碎者往往会以最激烈的方式攻击小洞穴中的虾。研究人员认为,虽然洞穴可能很挤,但攻击的虾可能知道主人个头小,因此更容易被打败。

Originally published on Live Science.

最初发表在《生命科学》上。

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