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科学美国人60秒:这些微小的传粉者可以传播惊人的距离

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This is Scientific American's 60-second Science, I'm Christopher Intagliata.

这里是《科学美国人》的 60秒科学,我是克里斯托弗·因塔利亚塔。

Christopher Intagliata: When you think of pollinators–what comes to mind? Bees, butterflies, maybe hummingbirds. Well how about… flies?

说起授粉媒介时——你会想到什么?蜜蜂,蝴蝶,也许还有蜂鸟。那么……苍蝇呢?

C. Scott Clem: Flies in general are the second most important group of pollinating insects. So I think they deserve more credit than they often get.

总的来说,苍蝇是授粉昆虫中第二重要的群体。所以我认为它们应该得到更多的荣誉。

Intagliata: C. Scott Clem is an insect ecologist at the University of Georgia. He's been studying a type of fly known as a "hoverfly." You may have actually seen them before, masquerading as bees and wasps.

斯科特·克莱姆是佐治亚大学的昆虫生态学家。他一直在研究一种名为“食蚜蝇”的苍蝇。你可能以前见过,长得很像蜜蜂和黄蜂。

Clem: They tend to be yellow and black colored, and they're kind of different from other flies in that regard. They're these little insects you often find visiting flowers or sometimes they'll actually land on your skin seeking the salt on your skin.

它们通常是黄色和黑色的,在这方面食蚜蝇与其他苍蝇有点不同。它们是你经常能在花上看到的小昆虫,或者有时它们会落在你的皮肤上,寻找皮肤上的盐分。

Intagliata: By studying isotopes in the insects' legs and wings, Clem and his colleagues have now determined that some of these flies make a remarkable autumn migration. They seem to originate near Ontario, Canada—and then they fly hundreds of miles south, to central Illinois. And it's possible some travel even further—thousands of miles, perhaps.

通过研究昆虫腿和翅膀中的同位素,克莱姆和他的同事们现在已经确定,其中一些食蚜蝇在秋季进行了非凡的迁徙。它们似乎从加拿大安大略省附近开始起飞,然后向南飞行数百英里,到达伊利诺伊州中部。有些可能会飞得更远——也许是数千英里。

Clem: They get up into high altitude air currents. They're able to surf on these winds basically, and it takes them these vast distances.

它们能飞进高空气流,在风中翱翔,并借着风力飞到更远的地方。

Intagliata: The results appear in the journal Ecological Monographs.

研究结果发表在《生态专题》杂志上。

As for why the flies migrate? Clem says they might be pursuing the aphids they eat southward...or maybe they're following the blooms of nectar-rich flowers.

至于这种苍蝇为何迁徙?克莱姆说,它们可能是在向南追捕作为食物的蚜虫……或者是在追寻富含花蜜的花朵。

Clem: If they're moving they could be moving these ecological services across the continent on an annual basis.

如果是在迁徙,那么它们可以每年将这些生态服务覆盖到整个大陆。

Intagliata: The scientists write that the flies could be transporting billions of grains of pollen across the continent, all while working to exterminate pests. So even if hoverflies' bee-like appearance is mere mimicry—the ecological services they provide could very well be the real deal.

科学家们写道,这些苍蝇可能会在整个大陆上运送数十亿粒花粉,同时还在努力消灭害虫。因此,也许食蚜蝇的外观只是对蜜蜂的模仿——但它们提供的生态服务很可能是货真价实的。

Thanks for listening for Scientific American's 60-second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata.

感谢收听《科学美国人》的60秒科学,克里斯托弗·因塔利亚塔报道。

This is Scientific American's 60-second Science, I'm Christopher Intagliata.

Christopher Intagliata: When you think of pollinators–what comes to mind? Bees, butterflies, maybe hummingbirds. Well how about… flies?

C. Scott Clem: Flies in general are the second most important group of pollinating insects. So I think they deserve more credit than they often get.

Intagliata: C. Scott Clem is an insect ecologist at the University of Georgia. He's been studying a type of fly known as a "hoverfly." You may have actually seen them before, masquerading as bees and wasps.

Clem: They tend to be yellow and black colored, and they're kind of different from other flies in that regard. They're these little insects you often find visiting flowers or sometimes they'll actually land on your skin seeking the salt on your skin.

Intagliata: By studying isotopes in the insects' legs and wings, Clem and his colleagues have now determined that some of these flies make a remarkable autumn migration. They seem to originate near Ontario, Canada—and then they fly hundreds of miles south, to central Illinois. And it's possible some travel even further—thousands of miles, perhaps.

Clem: They get up into high altitude air currents. They're able to surf on these winds basically, and it takes them these vast distances.

Intagliata: The results appear in the journal Ecological Monographs.

As for why the flies migrate? Clem says they might be pursuing the aphids they eat southward...or maybe they're following the blooms of nectar-rich flowers.

Clem: If they're moving they could be moving these ecological services across the continent on an annual basis.

Intagliata: The scientists write that the flies could be transporting billions of grains of pollen across the continent, all while working to exterminate pests. So even if hoverflies' bee-like appearance is mere mimicry—the ecological services they provide could very well be the real deal.

Thanks for listening for Scientific American's 60-second Science. I'm Christopher Intagliata.


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