日本大發現!斑馬牛有效抵擋蒼蠅!| Cows painted with zebra stripes keep flies in line

一位研究人員發現,在6頭懷孕的日本黑牛身上塗上4釐米至5釐米的條紋,能將蒼蠅咬傷綠減至50%。| A researcher showed that painting 4 cm to 5 cm stripes on six pregnant Japanese black cows, cuts fly bites by 50 percent. (Courtesy of Plos One)

【看英文中國郵報學英文】蒼蠅是天氣轉暖的標誌。它們通過落在食物上傳播疾病,還會進入我們的食物或飲料中,並且在食用時傳播細菌。然而,如果他們是被食物所吸引,為什麼會和我們有更多的接觸呢?

Flies are the hallmark of warmer weather. They spread diseases by landing on food and they can also get trapped physically in our food or drinks and spread bacteria on consumption. If they are attracted to food, however, why do they come in to more contact with us?

根據日本科學家在《 Plos One》網站上發表的一項最新研究,這可能與我們的穿著有關。當一頭母牛塗有斑馬般的條紋時,蒼蠅的攻擊就會「大大減少」。科學家們認為,這種偽裝混淆了蒼蠅的運動檢測並阻止了害蟲。

It is maybe about what we wear, according to a recent study published by Japanese scientists in the journal Plos One. Fly attacks are “significantly reduced” when a cow is painted with zebra-like stripes. The scientists believe the disguise confuses the fly’s motion detection and deters pests.

研究人員使用容易褪色的「商業水性白漆」在六隻懷孕的日本黑牛上繪製了4到5厘米的白色條紋。

The researcher painted white, 4 cm to 5 cm stripes on six pregnant Japanese black cows, using “commercial waterborne white lacquers” that faded easily.

隨後觀察塗有斑馬條文的牛。其中兩頭母牛塗有白色條紋,兩頭則塗有黑色條紋,另外兩頭則未塗漆,以作對照。然後重複此過程,因此,在9天之內,每頭母牛各進行了三種試驗,效果顯著。

The zebra-like bovines were then observed. Two of the cows were painted with white stripes, two with black stripes and two were left unpainted for a control. The process then repeated so, over nine days, each cow spent three days striped, painted black or unpainted.

研究人員說,在斑馬牛身上只觀察到55隻蒼蠅,而塗有黑色條紋的牛身上則觀察到111隻。最終,在未塗漆的牛身上觀察到128隻蒼蠅。先前的研究還發現,蒼蠅不太可能附著在穿著條紋毛毯和其他塗有條紋的馬身上。

Only 55 flies were observed on the zebra cows, compared with 111 on the black-painted cows and 128 on the control cows, the researcher said. Previous studies have also found that flies are less likely to land on horses wearing striped blankets and other objects painted with stripes.

現在研究人員表示,這會需要更多的工作。必須確認聯繫,並開發少勞動密集型的方法才能確保牛保持和斑馬相同的圖案。如果此方法成功,就會緩解牛群面臨的最持久的害蟲問題之一,並做出一項世界創舉。

The researchers now say more work is needed, both to confirm the link and to develop less labor-intensive ways of ensuring cows remain patterned and zebra-like. If so, it could ease one of the most persistent pest problems that face cattle.