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兰花的性欺骗

The sexual deception of orchids - Anne Gaskett

兰花存在的时间比恐龙还长 人类灭绝它都不一定灭绝——苏珊·奥林 《兰花贼》
世界上最大的兰花有几米高
The world’s largest orchidgrows several meters tall.
最小的几乎是看不见的
The tiniest is practically invisible.
有些在高高的树上开花
Some bloom high up in trees,
而有些则生活在地下
while others live underground.
总的来说 地球上大约有 28000种兰花——
All in, there are around 28,000 species of orchid on earth –
几乎是所有鸟类 哺乳动物和爬行动物的总和
about as many as all the bird, mammal and reptile species combined.
它们在世界各地都有分布
They grow all over the world,
有各种各样的颜色 形状和图案
bearing every imaginable colour, shape,and pattern.
这些精心生长的兰花背后 有个狡猾的目的:
And there’s a cunning purposebehind these elaborate displays:
许多兰花会诱骗昆虫
many orchids trick insects,
有时候甚至与昆虫发生性关系
sometimes even into having sex with them.
像其他花一样 大多数兰花需要吸引昆虫
Like other flowers, most orchids need to attract insects
来采集花粉并在植物之间传播
to gather their pollen andcarry it between plants.
但与大多花不同
But unlike most flowers,
大多数花用甜美的花蜜吸引一些传粉者
which attract a range of pollinatorswith sweet nectar,
这些“欺骗大师”还会运用其他手段
these masters of deceptiondeploy other tactics–
比如假装自己是昆虫的配偶
like pretending to be an insect’s mate,
散发出诱人的气味
letting off alluring scents,
模仿其它物种的外形
and mimicking the appearanceof other species.
它们最有趣的方法之一是性欺骗
One of their most intriguing methodsis sexual deception.
兰花通过性感的外形和信息素的结合
Through a combination of sexy shapesand pheromones,
欺骗昆虫与它们交配
orchids convince insectsto mate with them.
以蜜蜂兰花为例
Take the bee orchid,
它的花瓣几乎和蜜蜂柔软的身体一模一样
whose petals look almost exactly like the velvety body of a bee.
这种伪装是如此令人信服
This disguise is so convincing
以至于雄性蜜蜂降落在兰花上
that male bees land on the orchid
并试图与之发生性关系
and try to have sex with it,
边交配边沾上花粉
picking up pollen as they go.
其它兰花进化出人类看不见 但昆虫可感知的
Other orchids have evolved contrastingcolours and ultraviolet spots–
对比色和紫外线斑点
invisible to humans butirresistible to insects.
还有一些有触感的“爱的把手”
Still others have tactile ‘love-handles’
可以确保昆虫处于准确的授粉位置
that ensure insects are positionedprecisely for pollination.
例如 当一只雄性黄蜂降落在锤兰花上时
When a male wasp lands on thehammer orchid, for example,
它热情的交配动作会使花朵上的花瓣翻转
his enthusiastic mating motionflips a hinge in the flower,
迫使它的身体浸入花粉
forcing his body into the pollen.
在它要去的下一朵花上
At the next flower he visits,
同样的花瓣会将它携带的花粉推到柱头上
that same hinge pushes his pollen-covered body onto the stigma,
使之授粉
fertilizing it.
有些兰花的性欺骗能力很强
Some orchids make such convincing mates
昆虫甚至会向它们射精
that insects even ejaculate on them,
浪费宝贵的精子
wasting valuable sperm.
但性欺骗最重要的成分是气味:
But the most vital component ofsexual deception is scent:
兰花能模仿一种昆虫的气味
orchids mimic the precise scentof a single insect species.
这是有可能的 因为许多昆虫和花卉
This is possible because many insectsand flowers
会产生简单的有机化合物 称为碳氢化合物
produce simple organic compoundscalled hydrocarbons,
该化合物会形成保护层 防止它们的身体干燥
which form a layer that protectstheir bodies from drying out.
这层化合物的精确混合是物种特有的
The precise blend of compoundsin this layer is species-specific.
这种气味的挥发可作为昆虫吸引潜在配偶的一种方式
Its scent can double as a way for insects to attract potential mates,
被称为性信息素
known as a sex pheromone.
在几千年的时间里
Over the course of manythousands of years,
随机的化合物组合使某些兰花品种
random compound combinationshave given some orchid species
具有与特定昆虫完全相同的特征气味
precisely the same signature scentas particular insect species.
这种匹配的气味使它们能够吸引雄性传粉者
This matching scent allows them toattract male pollinators
这些传粉者会一次又一次地
who fall over and over again
为假扮成同种雌性的花朵而倾倒
for the flowers masquerading as females of their own species.
性欺骗并不是兰花唯一的诡计
Sexual deception isn’t the only trickorchids have up their sleeves.
它们最古老的骗局是 模仿其它花蜜的形状和颜色——
Their oldest scam is mimicking the shapesand colours of other nectar-producing flowers—
只是没有甜花蜜罢了
but without the sweet nectar.
有些兰花还会伪装成昆虫产卵的地方
Some orchids also masquerade as placeswhere insects lay their eggs.
有一个物种不仅有腐肉的颜色和外观
One species not only has the colour and appearance of rotting meat;
还会散发一种腐烂的气味——
it emits a scent of decay as well–
吸引苍蝇把卵产在花上
drawing in flies who deposittheir eggs on the flower
不知不觉就完成了对植物的授粉
and unwittingly pollinate the plant.
其它一些兰花的外观和气味
Other orchids look and smell just
就像某些昆虫产卵需要的真菌环境
like the fungi on which certain insects lay their eggs.
这些奇怪的方式是从哪里来的?
Where do all these bizarre adaptationscome from?
兰花的随机基因突变可能会产生一种气味——
Random genetic mutations in orchidsmay result in a trait–
或形状这样的特征——这种特征在偶然情况下
like a scent or a shape– that, by chance,
与单一昆虫的需求相匹配
matches the needs of a single insect species.
昆虫世界的多样性也增加了
The huge diversity within the insectworld also increases the likelihood
兰花找到独特受众的可能性
that an orchid will finda unique audience.
使兰花在专门传粉者的帮助下
Able to make more seeds and offspring
繁殖出更多的种子和后代
with the help of its dedicated pollinators,
并成功地独立繁殖
the orchid successfully reproducesin isolation,
成为一个新的物种
and becomes a new species.
但由于兰花有时只依赖一种传粉昆虫
But because of their dependence onsometimes just one pollinator species,
它们也很脆弱 许多很快就会灭绝
orchids are also vulnerable, and many quickly go extinct.
然而 随着时间的推移 兰花的种类逐渐增多而不是逐渐消失
Over time, though, more orchid species have formedthan died out,
兰花是最多样化的开花植物之一
and orchids are some of the most diverseflowering plants.
它们有着如此充满生机且超凡脱俗的外形
They have such exuberant and otherworldlyshapes
以至于它们有时也会欺骗人类的感官:
that they occasionally deceivehuman senses, too:
在它们的花瓣中 我们可以看到微小的
In their petals we see what appear to be tiny,
跳舞的人
dancing people,
猴子的脸 蜘蛛
monkey’s faces, spiders,
甚至是飞翔的鸟
and even birds in flight.
说到进化
也不完全是关于吸引的
有些时候是关于自卫的
学完了这节课了解植物用来抵御
捕食者的惊人适应性

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视频概述

一些兰花会分泌出性信息素来诱骗昆虫来与之发生性关系,这是它们依靠昆虫传播花粉的一种手段。

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收集自网络

翻译译者

甪里

审核员

审核员 V

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmI-rJuYAjw

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