When a rampaging column of 200,000 army ants hauling prey encounters a gaping pothole, volunteers bridge it with their bodies so that comrades can walk over them at full speed until the day's work is done, according to a new study.
And if the road-repairing ants — which can vary in size by a factor of five — are too small or too big for the job, others will keeping plugging away until a perfect match between insect and hole is found.
The study offers "rare quantitative evidence that extreme specialization" among a sturdy few with a lot of backbone can improve the performance of a majority, conclude Scott Powell and Nigel Franks, biologists at the University of Bristol.
The researchers observed the species Eciton burchellii — better known as army ants — in Panama, and then created a series of artificial, hole-ridden highways to see how the insects would adapt.
They also measured gains in productivity, calculating that the self-sacrificing behavior of a few good ants "results in a clear net gain in daily prey intake for the colony."
If 7,500 worker ants in a typical "trail" — a foraging column which can be several meters wide — pitch in for hole-plugging duty, the foraging party can increase its daily intake of goodies by up to 26 percent, according the study, to be published in June in the British journal Animal Behavior.(AFP)
1. comrade n.
夥伴 (huo3 ban4) ，同志 (tong2 zhi4)
例: Comrades share the same aspirations.
2. factor n.
（數學）因數 (yin1 shu4)
例: You only have NT$10? You'll need to increase that by a factor of 10 if you want that umbrella.
3. quantitative adj.
數量的 (shu4 liang4 de5)
例: Taiwan exports computers to the US without quantitative limitations.
4. forage v.i. /v.t.
搜尋 (sou1 xun2)
例: Stray dogs often forage for food in the garbage.
The backbone is another name for the series of vertebrae that surround the spinal cord. It can also be used as a metaphore for the most important part of something: "Mark is the backbone of this company. If he leaves, we could go out of business."
If someone is brave, you can say he or she has a lot of backbone. If someone acts cowardly, then others may say they are spineless or have no backbone.
假如某人很勇敢，就是「has a lot of backbone」。假如有人行事怯懦，可以說那個人「spineless」或「have no backbone」。
Bobby: What's wrong with your arm? It looks terrible!
Alan: I was in the garden yesterday and got eaten up by fire ants.
Bobby: That must have hurt! Did you see a doctor or anything?
Alan: I don't think I'll need to. I'll be good as new in two shakes of a lamb's tail.
Bobby: That's good to hear.
in two shakes of a lamb's tail 馬上，立刻
In two shakes of a lamb's tail is another way to say a short amount of time. "I'm just going to the other room to grab my book. I'll be back in two shakes of a lamb's tail."
「in two shakes of a lamb's tail」是指短期內。例如︰「我要到另一個房間拿我的書。馬上就回來」。
The long wait is finally over, as the Taipei Area reopens for large concerts. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, dozens of shows at the venue were forced to be canceled this year. After the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) relaxed its restrictions across public venues on June 7, applications to hold events at the multipurpose stadium are once again being accepted. Singer Eric Chou will become the first to perform at the Taipei Arena as it reopens, bringing back his Deluxe concert tour with two shows on Saturday and Sunday. On Aug. 15, online retailer PChome Online will stage a
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