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  • If insects suddenly morphed into large beings,

    如果昆蟲突然變成巨型生物

  • and decided to wage war on us,

    而且決定對人類開戰

  • there's no doubt that humans would lose.

    人類絕對贏不了

  • We'd simply be crushed by their sheer numbers.

    牠們光是靠數量就可以擊潰我們了

  • There are an estimated 10 quintillion individual insects on Earth.

    據估計 地球上約有一千京個昆蟲

  • That's a one followed by 19 zeroes.

    也就是10的19次方這麼多個

  • So, compared with our population of about 7 billion,

    相比之下 人類僅有70億人

  • these invertebrates outnumber us by more than a billion to one.

    人與昆蟲的數量比是1比十億以上

  • Their astounding numbers exist at the species level, as well.

    無脊椎動物的物種數量也十分驚人

  • There are more than 60,000 vertebrate species on the planet.

    地球上約有六萬多種脊椎動物

  • But the class of insects contains a million known species,

    但在昆蟲綱下就已發現上百萬種生物

  • and many others that haven't been classified.

    還有許多尚未被分類

  • In fact, these critters make up approximately 75% of all animals on Earth.

    其實 世上有四分之三的動物都是昆蟲

  • So, what's their secret to success?

    牠們怎麼辦到的呢?

  • Insect abundance comes down to many things

    昆蟲數量會如此龐大 有諸多原因

  • that together make them some of the most adaptable and resilient creatures,

    群聚使昆蟲成為適應力最佳的生物

  • beginning with their impressive ability to breed.

    首先 昆蟲擁有出色的繁殖力

  • Many species can produce hundreds of offspring within their lifetimes.

    很多昆蟲終其一生可以產下好幾百個卵

  • Most offspring will die,

    即使多數的下一代無法成功存活

  • but more than enough will survive into adulthood to reproduce.

    仍有足夠數量的幼蟲能存活下來 長成成蟲並繼續繁衍

  • Offspring also mature very rapidly,

    幼蟲很快地便生長為成蟲

  • so the cycle of reproduction resumes quickly,

    因此繁殖周期也十分短

  • and can occur over and over again in a short time.

    昆蟲可以在短時間內一再重複繁殖過程

  • These numbers mean that as a class,

    如此龐大的數量意味著 作為生物分類的綱

  • insects harbor a tremendous amount of genetic diversity.

    昆蟲擁有極廣大的基因多樣性

  • The different species contain a wealth of genetic data

    不同種的昆蟲含有豐富的基因數據

  • that give them the necessary adaptations they need to thrive

    使昆蟲具有一定的適應力 並在各種環境中

  • in a range of environments across the planet.

    都可以開枝散葉

  • Even some of the most extreme environments are in bounds;

    甚至包括各種極端環境

  • Flat bark beetles can live at -40 degrees Fahrenheit,

    扁甲可以在華氏負40度(攝氏負40度)的環境生存

  • Sahara Desert ants can venture out

    撒哈拉沙漠蟻仍能外出活動

  • when surface temperatures exceed 155 degrees,

    即使沙面高溫超過華氏155度(攝氏68度)

  • and some bumblebees can survive 18,000 feet above sea level.

    有些大黃蜂可以在海拔一萬八千呎的高山生存

  • Insect exoskeletons also work like body armor,

    昆蟲的外骨骼如同盔甲一樣

  • protecting insects against the outside world

    保護牠們不受外界傷害

  • and helping them cope with habitats that other creatures can't.

    是昆蟲克服極端環境的一大助力

  • Even their small size,

    昆蟲體積小

  • which we might see as a disadvantage,

    雖然在我們眼裡是劣勢

  • is something they use to their benefit.

    他們卻能善加利用 轉劣為優

  • Because most species are so tiny,

    由於多數品種的昆蟲體型都非常小

  • millions of insects can inhabit a small space

    一小塊地方就可以容納上百萬隻昆蟲

  • and make use of all the available resources within it.

    並且善盡一切資源

  • This means they can occupy hundreds of different niches across ecosystems.

    意即 在生態系統上 昆蟲可以佔有數百種不同生態棲位

  • Some insects survive by eating the roots,

    有的昆蟲吃植物的根維生

  • stems,

    有的吃莖

  • leaves,

    有的吃葉子

  • seeds,

    有的吃種子

  • pollen,

    有的食用花粉

  • and nectar of specific plants.

    或特定植物的花蜜

  • Others, like wasps,

    還有一些昆蟲 比如說黃蜂

  • make use of live insects by paralyzing the victims

    利用麻醉其他昆蟲

  • and laying their eggs inside

    並產卵在牠們體內

  • so that when the hatchlings emerge,

    當幼蟲孵化而出時

  • they can eat their way out and get nourishment.

    幼蟲便能以被麻醉的昆蟲為食 獲取養分

  • Mosquitos and biting flies feed on blood,

    有些蚊蟲會叮咬吸血

  • taking advantage of this unusual resource to ensure their survival.

    利用這特別的營養源生存

  • And a whole bunch of other insects have built a niche around feces.

    而很多昆蟲依糞便為棲

  • Flies lay their eggs there,

    蒼蠅產卵在上面

  • and some beetles even build large balls out of animal dung,

    有些甲蟲甚至把動物排泄物堆成一個大球

  • which they eat and use as accommodation for their eggs.

    從裡面獲取養分 並作為產卵的地方

  • And then there's the insects' mighty power of metamorphosis.

    有些昆蟲會「變態」

  • This trait not only transforms insects,

    這不但改變了昆蟲的外觀

  • but also helps them maximize the available resources in an ecosystem.

    也讓牠們可以將生態系統的資源善用到極致

  • Take butterflies.

    以蝴蝶為例

  • In their larval caterpillar form,

    在幼蟲時期

  • they chomp hungrily through leaves at a rapid rate

    毛毛蟲狼吞虎嚥地啃食樹葉

  • to help them grow and spin cocoons.

    成長、結繭

  • But when they emerge as butterflies,

    但當毛毛蟲羽化成蝴蝶後

  • these insects feed only on flower nectar.

    蝴蝶卻僅以花蜜為食

  • Metamorphosis means the larvae and adults of one species

    昆蟲變態意味著幼蟲與成蟲

  • will never compete for the same resource,

    不會爭奪同一種資源

  • so they successfully share an ecological niche

    可以和諧地共享同一個生態棲位

  • without limiting their own success.

    互不影響

  • This process is so efficient

    這樣的機制效能十分高

  • that an incredible 86% of insect species undergo complete metamorphosis.

    以至於高達86%的昆蟲完全變態

  • We're big and they're small,

    跟人類比起來 昆蟲很小

  • so it's easy to forget that these critters are moving in their millions

    所以很容易就忘記其實有上百萬隻昆蟲

  • all around us,

    在我們身邊竄動

  • all the time.

    每分 每秒

  • But examine almost any patch of ground,

    仔細觀察任何一片地面

  • and you're sure to find them there.

    絕對少不了昆蟲的蹤跡

  • Their numbers are immense, and their success is unmatched.

    昆蟲多到難以計算 亦無可媲美

  • We may have to accept that it's insects,

    我們不妨接受事實 真正佔領地球的

  • not us,

    不是人類

  • that are the true conquerors of the planet.

    而是昆蟲

If insects suddenly morphed into large beings,

如果昆蟲突然變成巨型生物

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B2 中高級 中文 美國腔 TED-Ed 昆蟲 幼蟲 數量 生態 變態

【TED-Ed】蟲蟲危機從何而來? (Why are there so many insects? - Murry Gans)

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    吳D 發佈於 2016 年 05 月 13 日
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