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  • Can you see the bug?

  • Probably can’t, can you?

  • Doing its job.

  • Hey everybody, it’s Maddie Sofia from NPR and Joe’s Big Idea, and I’m here at the

  • Smithsonian Museum of Natural History hanging out with some bugs.

  • These critters are truly nature’s masters of disguise.

  • Hannah Wood has joined us.

  • Hannah is an arachnologist here at the Smithsonian, and Hannah’s going to take us backstage

  • to see some of the collections.

  • How many insects do you guys have?

  • We have about 35 million specimens of insects and arachnids.

  • 35 million!

  • That’s a lot of bugs.

  • OK and arachnids, sure.

  • Spider lady.

  • Why would an insect want to mimic something else?

  • Could be several reasons why.

  • Some of the more common reasons would be because theyre mimicking something that has venom

  • or is potentially dangerous and so they get the benefit by looking the same way.

  • For example, in spiders, you have ant-mimic spiders where they look like other ants, they

  • live amongst them and this allows them to prey on other ant species.

  • But insects don’t choose to become mimics, and it doesn’t happen overnight.

  • Let’s look at our walking leaf buddy from earlier.

  • Random differences in DNA lead to unique traits.

  • And sometimes, these traits do not work out so well.

  • But, occasionally a trait might help them survive.

  • The ones that survive make babies, passing down their unique DNA.

  • And the trait sticks around in the population.

  • That’s a bug, not a leaf.

  • That’s a bug!

  • And here we have an Australian walking stick, and these insects look a little bit like tree bark.

  • Look at this!

  • That looks like part of a tree.

  • Were going to look at a giant Malaysian walking stick.

  • And here we have an Asian dead leaf mantis.

  • And these insects, they look like dead leaves.

  • All right.

  • Well, OK.

  • Sure, yeah, no take your time, wherever you want.

  • He’s putting out his little feelers for a little high-five.

  • boop!

  • Arachnologist.

  • Have you always liked spiders?

  • I have always not disliked them, yeah.

  • Just to be clear, everybody starts off with just not hating spiders.

  • I was fascinated with them.

  • I took this insect taxonomy course, and from the moment I saw an insect under a microscope,

  • I just knew, “Wow this is what I want to do.”

  • What is this mimicking?

  • So this beautiful little moth here is mimicking bird poop.

  • It’s a poop mimic!

  • So, I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that these are leaf mimics?

  • Yes.

  • Are insects, bugs still evolving?

  • I mean are humans playing a role in that kind of deal?

  • I mean everything’s still evolving.

  • Humans have certainly altered the environment in a way that other organisms have changed

  • the way they look or their behavior.

  • Such as those moths during the industrial revolution.

  • Hannah is talking about the peppered moth.

  • They can be speckled white or black.

  • During the Industrial Revolution, there was so much pollution that soot covered the trees.

  • Suddenly, the white moths were pretty easy to spot.

  • By the end of the century, almost 100 percent of the peppered moths left in the city were black.

  • But, after we cleaned up the environment in the 1950s, the white moths made a comeback.

  • Our world and the millions of species of insects that call it home are still evolving.

  • Who knows what theyll mimic next.

  • Hi I’m Adam Cole and this is Skunk Bear, NPR’s Science show.

  • I’m a mimic, like you, yeah.

  • Oh, OK.

  • And were excited to share this new series.

  • Maddie About Science is a part of Joe’s Big Idea, and we tell the stories about the

  • people and the process of science.

  • If you want to check out what were doing, click here.

  • And please subscribe to our YouTube channel right here.

  • I know youre not a leaf, youre not tricking anybody.

  • Don’t turn away from me, don’t ... can you just, OK?

Can you see the bug?


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大自然的偽裝大師| Maddie 關於科學(Nature's Masters Of Disguise | Maddie About Science)

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    Anbe2623 發佈於 2021 年 10 月 05 日