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  • If insects suddenly morphed into large beings, and decided to wage war on us, there's no doubt that humans would lose.

    如果昆蟲突然變成巨型生物而且決定對人類開戰,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。

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

    據估計,地球上約有一千京隻昆蟲。

  • That's a one followed by 19 zeroes.

    也就是 10 的 19 次方這麼多。

  • So, compared with our population of about 7 billion, these invertebrates outnumber us by more than a billion to one.

    相比之下,人類僅有 70 億人,人與這些無脊椎動物的數量比是一比十億以上。

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

    牠們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, and many others that haven't been classified.

    但在昆蟲綱下就已發現上百萬種生物,而其中還有許多尚未被分類。

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

    事實上,世上有四分之三的動物都是昆蟲。

  • So, what's their secret to success?

    所以牠們到底是怎麼辦到的?

  • Insect abundance comes down to many things that together make them some of the most adaptable and resilient creatures, beginning with their impressive ability to breed.

    昆蟲的數量會如此龐大,是因為有諸多原因聚集起來使牠們成為適應力最佳的生物,而首先便是牠們出色的繁殖能力 。

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

    很多品種的昆蟲終其一生可以產下好幾百個下一代。

  • Most offspring will die, but more than enough will survive into adulthood to reproduce.

    即使多數的下一代無法成功存活,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, so the cycle of reproduction resumes quickly, and can occur over and over again in a short time.

    幼蟲很快地便生長為成蟲,因此繁殖周期十分短暫,讓昆蟲可以在短時間內一再重複繁殖過程。

  • These numbers mean that as a class, insects harbor a tremendous amount of genetic diversity.

    而如此龐大的數量也意味著,昆蟲在作為生物分類上擁有極廣大的基因多樣性。

  • The different species contain a wealth of genetic data that give them the necessary adaptations they need to thrive in a range of environments across the planet.

    不同品種的昆蟲含有豐富的基因數據,使昆蟲具有一定的適應力,並能在地球上的各種環境中開枝散葉 。

  • Even some of the most extreme environments are in bounds: flat bark beetles can live at -40 degrees Fahrenheit; Sahara Desert ants can venture out when surface temperatures exceed 155 degrees; and some bumblebees can survive 18,000 feet above sea level.

    而這其中甚至包括了各種極端環境:扁甲可以在華氏負 40 度 (攝氏負 40 度) 的環境生存、撒哈拉沙漠蟻能在沙面高溫超過華氏 155 度 (攝氏 68 度) 時外出活動 ,而有些大黃蜂可以在海拔一萬八千英呎的高山生存。

  • Insect exoskeletons also work like body armor, protecting insects against the outside world and helping them cope with habitats that other creatures can't.

    昆蟲的外骨骼如同防彈衣一樣保護牠們不受外界傷害,幫助他們適應其他生物無法適應的棲息地。

  • Even their small size, which we might see as a disadvantage, is something they use to their benefit.

    在我們眼中看似劣勢的嬌小體積,昆蟲們卻能善加利用,轉劣為優。

  • Because most species are so tiny, millions of insects can inhabit a small space and make use of all the available resources within it.

    由於多數品種的昆蟲體型都非常小,一小塊地方就可以容納上百萬隻昆蟲,並且善加利用所有資源。

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

    這表示昆蟲能在生態系統上佔據數百種不同生態棲位。

  • Some insects survive by eating the roots, stems, leaves, seeds, pollen, and nectar of specific plants.

    有的昆蟲吃植物的根維生,有的吃莖,有的吃葉子,有的吃種子,有的食用花粉或特定植物的花蜜。

  • Others, like wasps, make use of live insects by paralyzing the victims and laying their eggs inside so that when the hatchlings emerge, they can eat their way out and get nourishment.

    還有如黃蜂等的昆蟲,能夠麻醉其他昆蟲並產卵在牠們體內,當幼蟲孵化而出時,幼蟲便能以被麻醉的昆蟲為食來獲取養分 。

  • Mosquitos and biting flies feed on blood, taking advantage of this unusual resource to ensure their survival.

    有些蚊蟲會叮咬動物來吸血,利用這特別的營養源生存。

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

    而很多昆蟲則依糞便為棲所。

  • Flies lay their eggs there, and some beetles even build large balls out of animal dung, which they eat and use as accommodation for their eggs.

    蒼蠅產卵在上面,有些甲蟲甚至把動物排泄物堆成一個大球,從裡面獲取養分並將其作為產卵的場所。

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

    還有就是昆蟲強大的「變態」能力。

  • This trait not only transforms insects, but also helps them maximize the available resources in an ecosystem.

    這不但能改變昆蟲的外觀,也讓牠們可以將生態系統的資源利用到極致。

  • Take butterflies. In their larval caterpillar form, they chomp hungrily through leaves at a rapid rate to help them grow and spin cocoons.

    以蝴蝶為例,在幼蟲時期,毛毛蟲狼吞虎嚥地啃食樹葉,幫助他們成長結繭。

  • But when they emerge as butterflies, these insects feed only on flower nectar.

    但當毛毛蟲羽化成蝴蝶後,蝴蝶卻僅以花蜜為食。

  • Metamorphosis means the larvae and adults of one species will never compete for the same resource, so they successfully share an ecological niche without limiting their own success.

    昆蟲的變態意味著幼蟲與成蟲不會爭奪同一種資源,讓牠們能夠互不影響地和諧地共享同一個生態棲位。

  • This process is so efficient that an incredible 86% of insect species undergo complete metamorphosis.

    這種機制的效能十分地高,以至於高達 86% 的昆蟲都會進行完全變態。

  • We're big and they're small, so it's easy to forget that these critters are moving in their millions all around us, all the time.

    與人類相比昆蟲很小,所以我們很容易就忘記,其實每分每秒都有上百萬隻昆蟲正在我們身邊竄動。

  • But examine almost any patch of ground, and you're sure to find them there.

    仔細觀察任何一片地面,都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, not us, that are the true conquerors of the planet.

    我們不妨敞開心胸,接受真正稱霸地球的不是人類而是昆蟲的事實吧。

If insects suddenly morphed into large beings, and decided to wage war on us, there's no doubt that humans would lose.

如果昆蟲突然變成巨型生物而且決定對人類開戰,人類絕對贏不了。

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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 2021 年 09 月 16 日
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