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蚂蚁也有退休时

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小编摘要:蚂蚁过着一种严密的、高度发达的组织生活。它们因为力量、组织、团队合作而闻名。但是根据《每日邮报》近日报道,科研人员发现蚂蚁成功的一个关键秘密是它们懂得在工作场所中年龄的重要性。

蚂蚁过着一种严密的、高度发达的组织生活。它们因为力量、组织、团队合作而闻名。但是根据《每日邮报》近日报道,科研人员发现蚂蚁成功的一个关键秘密是它们懂得在工作场所中年龄的重要性。
They have a reputation for strength, organisation and teamwork. But researchers have now discovered that a key secret to the success of ants is the insect's ability to identify the importance of age in the work place.
俄勒冈大学和俄勒冈州立大学的研究人员对中美洲的切叶蚁进行了研究,他们发现,蚁群中的年轻和精力充沛的成员被委派去做最艰难的工作——将蚁群收集起来的叶片切成碎片。这些身强力壮的切叶蚁用它们锐利的牙齿做起这种工作来很有效率,但是随着年龄的增长,它们的牙齿也会变得破旧而迟钝。
A study of Central American leaf-cutter ants has shown that the younger and more vigorous members of the colony are given the toughest job of cutting through the leaves they harvest. Their sharp young teeth do this job efficiently, but as they get older their teeth become relatively worn and blunt.
但是年长的切叶蚁退休后并没有成为蚁群中的废物,它们被赋予了另一种更合适的工作,也就是搬运叶片。像人类一样,这些蚂蚁承认那些年老的成员仍然能够为家族做贡献。先前的研究认为,切叶蚁的生存依靠的是它们的工作效率,这项新的研究支持了这种观点。
But rather than being retired or dumped on the ant equivalent of the social scrap heap, the ageing ants are given a new role more suited to their physical abilities. The former chompers become carriers. Instead they transport the leaves back to the colony where they are harvested for food.
美国科研小组领头人,罗伯特•斯科菲尔德博士说:“叶片切割是一件艰难的工作。许多切割工作是用它们上颚牙齿间的V形锯片来做的。这种锯片在起初就像人类生产的最锋利的剃须刀片那样锐利。”
'Cutting leaves is hard work,' said Dr Robert Schofield, who led the team of US scientists. 'Much of the cutting is done with a V-shaped blade between teeth on their mandibles. This blade starts out as sharp as the sharpest razor blade that humans have developed.' But over time the teeth become blunter and the cutting job slows down.
但是切叶蚁的牙齿和锯片会渐渐变钝,切割工作也会慢下来了。斯科菲尔德博士和他的研究小组用高清显微镜来对比研究室里培养的切叶蚁蚁蛹的牙齿和野外的切叶蚁已经磨损的牙齿。他们发现蚁蛹的锯片比老龄切叶蚁的锯片锋利340倍。那些牙齿已经磨损殆尽的切叶蚁,它们的锯片只剩下20%。和大型动物一样,牙齿的磨损和破裂对昆虫来说也是一个很大的问题,这项研究支持了这种观点。
Like humans, leaf-cutter ants recognise that older members of the group can still make a worthwhile contribution to societyDr Schofield and his team used hi-tech microscopes to compare the pristine teeth of laboratory-reared pupae with the worn teeth of the wild forager ants.
斯科菲尔德博士说:“这项研究证明了社会生活的一个优势,这一点是我们所熟悉的。那些不能做某种特定工作的人们仍然可以为社会做出很大的贡献。”
They found the blade of a cutter ant to be 340 times duller than the pristine blade of a pupa. The study reported in the journal Behaviour Ecology and Sociobiology revealed ants with the most worn teeth, which had less than 10% of the cutting blade, exclusively carried leaves rather than cut them. The team estimated that, because of this age-related wear, a colony spent twice the energy cutting leaves than it would if all the ants had sharp mandibles. Its findings support the idea that wear and fracture can be significant problems for insects as well as larger animals. 'This study demonstrates an advantage of social living that we are familiar with,' said Dr Schofield. 'Humans that can no longer do certain tasks can still make very worthwhile contributions to society.' Leaf-cutter ants live in colonies that have a very developed structure with a strict hierarchy.
标签:蚂蚁 退休
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2011-01-10 20:34 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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