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海洋内至关重要的“肛门”

The most important anus in the ocean - Cella Wright

试想一种类似神秘蛞蝓的神兽 它身上伸出了许许多多不同的触角
—— 斯蒂芬•珀塞尔
Can you guess what you’re looking at?
你能猜到你看到的是什么吗?
Is it a fuzzy sock? An overripe banana?
是臭袜子?烂香蕉?
A moldy tube of toothpaste?
一管发霉的牙膏?
In fact, this is the humble sea cucumber, and while it might look odd,
其实是不起眼的海参 虽然它看起来奇怪
its daily toil paves the way for entire ecosystems to thrive.
它的日常活动可是整个生态系统繁荣的基础
Sea cucumbers are members of the phylum Echinodermata,
海参属于棘皮动物门一类
along with sea urchins, starfish and other radially symmetrical,
其中还有海胆 海星和其他辐射对称的
“spiny-skinned” marine invertebrates.
“多刺皮肤”的海洋无脊椎动物
Some sea cucumbers have feathery tentacles flowing from their mouths,
一些海参有羽毛般的触须从嘴里伸出
some are puffed like bloated balloons,
有些像鼓起的气球一样膨胀
and others simply look like Headless Chicken Monsters—
其他的看起来就像“无头怪兽”——
the actual name given to a rare deep-sea species.
一个稀有深海物种的真实名称
But they are generally characterized by their long, cylindrical shape.
但海参一般以长柱样的外形为特征
A sea cucumber is essentially a brainless, fleshy form
海参本质是一个无脑的 由肌肉构成的生物
surrounding a digestive tract,
一条消化道贯穿其中
bookended by a mouth and an anus.
嘴巴和肛门位于消化道两端
Adhesive tube feet run the length of their bodies
海参的管足遍布整个身长
and allow them to scoot along the seafloor.
这样使它们能在海底快速移动
Specialized tube feet can be used for feeding and respiration,
有些特殊的管足可用于进食和呼吸
There are many sea cucumbers actually breathe through their anuses.
其实许多海参是通过肛门呼吸的
Rhythmically contracting and relaxing their muscles,
通过有节奏地收缩和放松肌肉
they draw water in and out over an internal lung-like structure
它们通过一种称为呼吸树的内部肺状结构
called a respiratory tree that extracts oxygen from seawater.
吸水吐水 从而从海水中汲取氧气
Certain species of crabs and pearlfish
某些种类的螃蟹和珍珠鱼
take advantage of this rhythmic action and,
利用这种有节奏的肛门运动
once the sea cucumber’s anus is dilated, they shimmy in and take shelter.
当海参的肛门一扩张 它们就会摇晃着躲进去
The rear end of a single sea cucumber can harbor up to fifteen pearlfish at a time.
海参的肛门内部一次能容纳15条珍珠鱼
However, it seems that not all sea cucumbers
然而 似乎不是所有的海参
put up with this intrusive behavior.
都能忍受这种侵入性的行为
Some species are equipped with five teeth around their anus,
有些种类的海参肛门周围有五颗牙齿
suggesting that they may have taken an evolutionary stand against unwanted guests.
说明它们为对付不速之客 可能有过相应的进化
But even sea cucumbers that lack anal teeth
但即使是没有肛门牙的海参
are outfitted with tools to defend themselves.
也配备了保护它们自己的工具
They evade threats and launch counter-attacks
它们用易变的的胶原组织 即MCT
using their mutable collagenous tissue, or MCT.
来驱逐有威胁的生物并进行反击
This gel-like tissue contains bundles of collagen, called “fibrils.”
这种胶状组织含有成束的胶原蛋白 称为胶原纤维
Proteins can interact with these fibrils
一些蛋白质可以同胶原纤维相互作用
to slide them together, stiffening the tissue, or apart, softening it.
使纤维聚集 组织紧密 或使纤维分开 组织松弛
This versatile tissue has many advantages:
这种多功能组织有很多优点
it aids in efficient locomotion,
它有助于高效运动
enables sea cucumbers to fit into small spaces,
使海参能够适应狭小的空间
and allows them to reproduce asexually by splitting apart.
并允许它们通过分裂进行无性繁殖
But MCT’s most explosive application is employed when a predator attacks.
但MCT最猛的应用是当捕食者攻击的时候
By loosening the attachments of internal tissues
通过松开内部组织的附着物
then quickly softening and contracting their muscles,
然后迅速放松和收缩它们的肌肉
many species are capable of shooting a wide range of organs
许多海参物种能够从它们的肛门里
out of their anuses.
射出大量的内部器官
This act is called “evisceration”
这种行为被称作“排出内脏”
and it’s a surprisingly effective defense mechanism.
这是一种令人惊奇地有效防御机制
In addition to startling and distracting predators,
一些海参的内脏除了表面上吓唬 干扰捕食者外
the innards of some sea cucumber species are sticky and toxic.
它们的内脏也是粘稠有毒的
Evisceration may seem drastic,
排出内脏可能看起来很极端
but sea cucumbers are able to regenerate what they’ve lost to their gut reaction
但海参能够在短短的几周内
in just a few weeks’ time.
再生出从肛门排出的器官
Aside from the few species that have evolved to swim
在海参物种中 除了少数已进化成会游泳的
and those that feed without moving,
和那些不用移动就能捕食的
many of these cumbersome creatures pass their time grazing the seabed.
许多这样笨重的生物在海床上吃草消磨时间
Sea cucumbers are found everywhere from shallow shores to abyssal trenches
从浅滩到海平面6000米以下的深海海沟
6,000 meters below sea level.
海参随处可见
On the deep sea floor, they comprise the majority of animal biomass,
在深海海底 它们占据了动物生物量的大部分
reaching up to 95% in some areas.
在一些区域达到了95%
As these sausage-shaped wonders trudge along,
当这些香肠形状的神奇物种慢爬时
they vacuum up sand, digest the organic matter it contains, and excrete the byproduct.
它们吸进沙子 消化其中的有机物并排泄副产物
In this process, sea cucumbers clean and oxygenate the seafloor
在这个过程中 海参通过分解碎屑和回收养分
by breaking down detritus and recycling nutrients.
给海底进行清洁并补充氧气
This creates the conditions for sea grass beds and shellfish to thrive.
这就为海草床和贝类的繁衍创造了条件
Sea cucumber excretions can also aid in coral formation
海参的排泄物也有助于珊瑚的形成
and may play a role in buffering marine environments from ocean acidification.
还可以保护海洋环境免受海洋酸化的危害
As the ocean’s vacuum cleaners, they are very good at their job:
作为海洋的吸尘器 它们非常擅长自己的工作
about half of the sandy seafloor
人们认为海底的大约一半沙
is thought to have passed through the digestive tract of a sea cucumber.
都曾从海参的消化道通过
So next time you’re rejoicing in the feeling of sand
所以下次你享受沙子在你的脚趾之间
crunching between your toes, consider this:
嘎吱作响的感觉时 考虑一下
those very grains of sand might have, at one point or another,
这些沙砾可能 在某一时刻
been excreted by a pickle that breathes through its butt.
是被一种靠肛门呼吸的物种排出来的

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视频概述

海洋中至关重要的“肛门”是什么呢?它又是怎样发挥它的作用呢?

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收集自网络

翻译译者

无畏小钢炮

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审核员LJ

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQxep9S4dIg

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