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科学美国人60秒: 雄性蝙蝠用嘴里的食物提高交配几率

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Male Bats Up Mating Odds With Mouth Morsels

雄性蝙蝠用嘴里的食物提高交配几率

Sharing a meal is a standard first step in the mating rituals of many mammals. But Egyptian fruit bats take “splitting an entrée” to a whole other level. Because males that allow females to take the food right out of their mouths are repaid with reproductive rights—and are more likely to sire offspring with their favorite female fruit finaglers. That’s according to a study in the journal Current Biology.

分享食物是许多哺乳动物交配仪式的标准第一步。但埃及果蝠将“分一道主菜”的做法提升到了一个全新的高度。因为雄性允许雌性直接从它们的嘴里取出食物,就会得到繁殖权的回报——而且更有可能与它们最喜欢的雌性水果骗子繁衍后代。这是根据《当代生物学》杂志上的一项研究得出的结论。

A couple years back, researchers noticed that in fruit bat colonies, some bats forage for food while others simply snatch it from the foragers’ mouths.“And there are different hypotheses for explaining this.”Yossi Yovel of Tel-Aviv University has studied these bats for years. Maybe the scroungers were relatives, he says. Or maybe they were just socially dominant bullies.“What we observed is that mostly scroungers are females.”That got the researchers thinking about something of great importance to most animals: reproduction.

几年前,研究人员注意到,在果蝠群落中,一些蝙蝠觅食,而另一些则直接从觅食者的嘴里抢食物。对此有不同的假设。特拉维夫大学的Yossi Yovel多年来一直在研究这些蝙蝠。他说,也许行乞者是他们的亲戚。或者他们只是社会上占主导地位的恃强凌弱者。“我们观察到,大多数行乞者是女性。这让研究人员想到了对大多数动物来说非常重要的事情:繁殖。

“And specifically we were wondering whether females might then mate with males that provide them with food. So this was the hypothesis, the sex-for-food hypothesis, that we tested.”Yovel and his colleagues monitored the interactions among bats in their colony for more than a year. And they checked the paternity of the baby bats that were born. What they found is that females were more likely to make babies with those males that provided free meals.

“我们特别想知道的是,雌性是否会与提供食物的雄性交配。这就是我们测试的假设,性换食物的假设。Yovel和他的同事们在一年多的时间里一直在观察蝙蝠群体之间的互动。他们检查了出生蝙蝠宝宝的父亲。他们发现,女性更有可能与那些提供免费食物的男性生孩子。

But Yovel says that the process is not strictly transactional: “So sometimes they took a lot of food from a specific individual but did not mate with him. What’s important is, what we think, is the bond between the two. So if this individual is the main provider of the female then the probability that they will later mate increases.”

但是Yovel说这个过程并不是严格意义上的交易:“所以有时候他们从一个特定的个体身上拿走很多食物,但却没有和他交配。我们认为,重要的是,这两者之间的联系。因此,如果这个个体是雌性的主要供养者,那么它们以后交配的可能性就会增加。”

That means that offering free lunch is no guarantee for an amorous male, but it does up his odds. And unlike human males, batboys clearly learn that it’s in their romantic interest to chew with their mouths open.

这就意味着,对一个多情的雄性来说,提供免费的午餐并不能保证一定成功,但这确实增加了他的胜算。与人类男性不同的是,蝙蝠男们很清楚地知道,他们喜欢张大嘴巴咀嚼食物。

Male Bats Up Mating Odds With Mouth Morsels

Sharing a meal is a standard first step in the mating rituals of many mammals. But Egyptian fruit bats take “splitting an entrée” to a whole other level. Because males that allow females to take the food right out of their mouths are repaid with reproductive rights—and are more likely to sire offspring with their favorite female fruit finaglers. That’s according to a study in the journal Current Biology.

A couple years back, researchers noticed that in fruit bat colonies, some bats forage for food while others simply snatch it from the foragers’ mouths.“And there are different hypotheses for explaining this.”Yossi Yovel of Tel-Aviv University has studied these bats for years. Maybe the scroungers were relatives, he says. Or maybe they were just socially dominant bullies.“What we observed is that mostly scroungers are females.”That got the researchers thinking about something of great importance to most animals: reproduction.

“And specifically we were wondering whether females might then mate with males that provide them with food. So this was the hypothesis, the sex-for-food hypothesis, that we tested.”Yovel and his colleagues monitored the interactions among bats in their colony for more than a year. And they checked the paternity of the baby bats that were born. What they found is that females were more likely to make babies with those males that provided free meals.

But Yovel says that the process is not strictly transactional: “So sometimes they took a lot of food from a specific individual but did not mate with him. What’s important is, what we think, is the bond between the two. So if this individual is the main provider of the female then the probability that they will later mate increases.”

That means that offering free lunch is no guarantee for an amorous male, but it does up his odds. And unlike human males, batboys clearly learn that it’s in their romantic interest to chew with their mouths open.


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