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【科学新闻】为何蚊子会选择叮你 Why mosquitoes choose to bite you

来源:慢速英语   时间:2020-01-11 15:42:59

Mosquitoes have an extraordinary ability to target humans far away and fly straight to their unprotected skin.Regrettably,mosquitoes can do more than cause an itchy wound.Some mosquitoes spread several serious diseases,including Dengue,yellow fever and malaria.


蚊子有一种非凡的能力,可以把目标对准遥远的人类,直接飞到他们没有保护的皮肤上。令人遗憾的是,蚊子能做的不仅仅是造成瘙痒的伤口。一些蚊子传播一些严重的疾病,包括登革热、黄热病和疟疾。


Over one million people worldwide die from these mosquito-borne diseases each year.New research now shows how mosquitos choose who to bite.


全世界每年有100多万人死于这些蚊子传播的疾病。新的研究表明蚊子是如何选择咬谁的。


Mosquitoes need blood to survive.They are attracted to human skin and breath.They smell the carbon dioxide gas--which all mammals breathe out.This gas is how mosquitoes know that a warm-blooded creature is nearby.


蚊子需要血液才能生存。它们被人类的皮肤和呼吸所吸引。它们闻到了所有哺乳动物呼出的二氧化碳气体。这种气体是蚊子知道附近有一种温血生物的方式。


But mosquitoes also use their eyes and sense of touch.Michael Dickinson is a professor at the California Institute of Technology.His research shows how these small insects,with even smaller brains,use three senses to find a blood meal.


但是蚊子也用眼睛和触觉。迈克尔迪金森是加州理工学院的教授。他的研究表明,这些大脑更小的小昆虫是如何利用三种感官来寻找血粉的。


"We suspected from research that we had been doing on fruit flies that vision might play a very large and underappreciated role in allowing the mosquito to really home in on the potential host target."


“我们从对果蝇的研究中怀疑,视觉可能在让蚊子真正回到潜在的寄主目标上起到非常大和不被重视的作用。”

Michael Dickinson's team used plumes–material that rises into the air--of carbon dioxide gas into a wind tunnel.They then used cameras to record the mosquitoes.The insects followed the plume.


Michael Dickinson的团队使用羽毛——上升到空气中的物质——二氧化碳气体进入风洞。然后他们用摄像机记录蚊子。昆虫跟着羽毛。


Then,the scientists placed dark objects on the lighter colored floor and walls of the tunnel.Mr.Dickinson said,at first,the mosquitoes showed no interest in the objects at all.


然后,科学家们将深色物体放在隧道浅色的地板和墙壁上。迪金森先生说,起初,蚊子对这些东西一点兴趣都没有。


"What was quite striking and quite surprising is that the mosquitos fly back and forth for hours--these are hungry females--and they completely ignore the objects on the floor and wall of the tunnel.But the moment that they get a hit of CO2,they change their behavior quite dramatically and now would become attracted to these little visual blobs."


“令人吃惊和惊讶的是,蚊子来回飞了几个小时——它们是饥饿的雌性——它们完全忽略了隧道地面和墙壁上的物体。但当它们受到二氧化碳的冲击时,它们的行为会发生很大的变化,现在它们会被这些小的视觉斑点所吸引。”


This suggested to the researchers that a mosquito's sense of smell is more important in the search for food.Once mosquitoes catch a smell of a human or animal,they also follow visual cues.


这向研究人员表明,蚊子的嗅觉在寻找食物时更为重要。一旦蚊子闻到人或动物的气味,它们也会跟随视觉信号。


"This really makes a lot of sense because if the mosquitoes were distracted by every visual object in their world,they would just waste all their time.This case,they only start paying attention when their nose tells them that there might be a host nearby."


“这真的很有意义,因为如果蚊子被世界上的每一个视觉对象分心,它们就会浪费所有的时间。这种情况下,只有当他们的鼻子告诉他们附近可能有宿主时,他们才会开始注意。”


This process happens several times over the course of a mosquito's flight.Michael Dickinson explains.


这个过程在蚊子飞行的过程中发生了好几次。迈克尔·迪金森解释道。


"What some of the details of our experiments indicated is that it's very hard to fool them over the long run.They will always get their man or woman over time because they'll just keep repeating this strategy until they find a yummy meal."


“我们实验的一些细节表明,从长远来看,很难愚弄他们。随着时间的推移,他们总会得到他们的男人或女人,因为他们会不断重复这个策略,直到找到美味的饭菜。”


Matt DeGennaro is a scientist at Florida International University.He says understanding a mosquito's way of finding its host could help prevent those insects from biting.He is working to create genetic changes that affect the mosquito's sense of smell.


马特·德根纳罗是佛罗里达国际大学的科学家。他说,了解蚊子寻找寄主的方式有助于防止蚊子叮咬。他正在努力创造影响蚊子嗅觉的基因变化。


"We need to know which genes control this process at all these different stages.And then we can use that knowledge to design a new perfume that could block the mosquito's sensation of us or could trigger certain receptors that signal danger to the mosquito and then cause them to stay away."


“我们需要知道哪些基因在所有这些不同的阶段控制着这一过程。然后,我们可以利用这些知识设计出一种新的香水,这种香水可以阻止蚊子对我们的感觉,或者可以触发某些受体,这些受体对蚊子发出危险信号,然后使蚊子远离我们。”


The study,published in Current Biology,details the steps of the mosquito's flight so that we may one day have a fighting chance against the biting insect.


这项发表在《当代生物学》杂志上的研究详细介绍了蚊子飞行的步骤,以便有一天我们有机会与这种叮咬的昆虫作斗争。


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