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  • If you live on the east coast of the United States,

    如果你住在美國東岸

  • you spent the last 17 years of your life

    用你過去十七年時間

  • walking,

    走路

  • eating,

    吃東西

  • and sleeping

    和睡覺

  • above a dormant army of insects.

    在休眠的昆蟲大軍之上

  • These are the cicadas.

    這些昆蟲就是蟬

  • Every 17 years,

    每十七年時間

  • billions of them emerge from the ground

    數十億的蟬,從地表出現

  • to do three things:

    來做三件事

  • molt,

    脫皮

  • mate,

    交配

  • and die.

    及死亡

  • There are fifteen different broods of cicadas out there,

    當牠們從地表出現時

  • grouped by when they'll emerge from the ground.

    被歸類為十五窩不同的蟬

  • Some of these broods are on a 13-year cycle,

    有些蟬窩的週期為十三年

  • others are on a 17-year clock.

    其它則為十七年

  • Either way, the cicadas live underground

    不論何種形式,這些蟬大部分時間

  • for most of their lives,

    都住在地底下

  • feeding on the juices of plant roots.

    食用植物根部的液體

  • When it's time to emerge,

    當該露面的時候

  • the adults will begin to burrow their way

    成蟬就開始挖掘

  • out of the ground

    離開地底的通道

  • and up to the surface,

    直到地面

  • where they will live for just a few weeks.

    牠們只會待上幾個禮拜

  • During these weeks, though,

    而這段期間裡

  • everybody will know the cicadas have arrived.

    每個人都知道蟬已到來

  • There will be billions of them,

    其數量高達數十億

  • and they're loud.

    且聲響驚人

  • Male cicadas band together

    雄蟬會一起行動

  • to call for female mates,

    邀請雌蟬

  • and their collective chorus can reach

    牠們集體行動的聲響

  • up to 100 decibels,

    可達到近一百分貝

  • as loud as a chain saw.

    和鏈鋸聲響一般

  • In fact, if you happen to be using a chain saw

    事實上,如果你恰巧用上了鏈鋸

  • or a lawn mower,

    或割草機

  • male cicadas will flock to you,

    成群公蟬就會飛向你

  • thinking that you're one of them.

    認為你是牠們其中一員

  • Now, like most things in nature,

    如同自然定律

  • the cicadas don't arrive without a posse.

    牠們不會單獨行動

  • There are all sort of awesome and gross predators and parasites

    因為有各種可怕又噁心的 掠食者及寄生蟲

  • that come along with the buzzing bugs.

    伴隨牠們而來

  • Take the fungus massospora for example.

    以寄生菌 massospora 為例

  • This little white fungus buries itself

    這白色小菌種將自己隱藏

  • in the cicada's abdomen and eats the bug alive,

    在蟬的下腹中,侵蝕蟬肚

  • leaving behind its spores.

    並將種子留下

  • When those spores rupture,

    當這些種子破裂時

  • they burst out of the still-alive cicada,

    牠們從仍活著的蟬腹中噴出

  • turning the bug into a flying salt shaker of death,

    讓蟬的下腹如鹽巴揮灑 斷裂開而死亡

  • raining spores down upon

    並將種子灑落

  • its unsuspecting cicada neighbors.

    在未加思索的隔壁蟬身上

  • But while we know pretty precisely

    雖然我們清楚的了解

  • when the cicadas will arrive and fade away,

    這些蟬會來到繼而死亡

  • we're still not totally certain of why.

    但仍不完全確定為什麼

  • There are certain advantages

    當然囉!讓整個物種同時出現

  • to having your entire species emerge at once, of course.

    有一定的好處

  • The sheer number of cicadas coming out of the ground

    數量龐大的蟬從地下而來

  • is so overwhelming to predators,

    對掠食者而言聲勢浩大

  • it is essentially guaranteed

    實質上能保證的是

  • that a few bugs will survive and reproduce.

    少數蟲子能存活、繁衍下一代

  • And since cicadas emerge every 13 or 17 years,

    由於蟬每十三或十七年才出現

  • longer than the lifespan of many of their predators,

    壽命比起很多牠們的掠食者都要長

  • the animals that eat them

    捕食蟬的動物都

  • don't learn to depend on their availability.

    不會依賴牠們的存在

  • But why 13 and 17 years

    該想想為何是十三和十七年

  • instead of 16,

    而不是十六

  • or 18,

    十八

  • or 12?

    或十二年

  • Well, that part no one really knows.

    沒有人真正知道答案

  • It's possible the number just happened by chance,

    這個數字很有可能只是碰巧發生了

  • or, perhaps, cicadas really love prime numbers.

    或許蟬很喜愛質數

  • Eventually, the cicadas will mate and slowly die off,

    牠們最後會交配並慢慢死亡

  • their call fading into the distance.

    蟬鳴消逝於遠處

  • The eggs that they lay will begin the cycle again,

    牠們下的蛋會再度延續生命

  • their cicada babies burrowing into the earth,

    蟬寶寶在地表洞穴裡

  • feeding on plant juice,

    以植物汁液為食

  • and waiting for their turn

    等待牠們的時刻

  • to darken the skies

    來染黑天際

  • and fill the air with their songs.

    並賦予美妙的歌聲

  • In 17 years, they'll be ready.

    牠們用十七年時間準備

  • Will you?

    你呢?

If you live on the east coast of the United States,

如果你住在美國東岸

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B2 中高級 中文 TED-Ed 掠食 地表 聲響 種子 死亡

【TED-Ed】足間出沒的蟬大軍 (Cicadas: The dormant army beneath your feet - Rose Eveleth)

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    Sara Wang 發佈於 2013 年 11 月 13 日
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