Young male lizards in South Africa imitate females to fool older males into leaving them alone, in an example of transvestism in the natural world, researchers have found.
The lizards not only avoid fights but gain access to females under the nose of their more macho rivals.
They found that young male Augrabies flat lizards delayed displaying the extravagant colors of mature males until they were able to defend themselves.
“Experienced males will chase and bite their young rivals,” said associate professor Martin Whiting of Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand.
“By delaying the onset of color to a more convenient period, these males, termed she-males, are making the best of a bad situation.”
Australian National University associate professor Scott Keogh said becoming transvestites for a period offered young males two advantages.
“They can avoid dangerous fights with strong males and still have access to females,” he said.
But, as with large hands and an Adam’s apple in the human world, there is a problem with the lizards’ transvestite transformation.
Dominant males can detect transvestite’s male hormones with their tongues, even if they are fooled by their female appearance.
University of Sydney researcher Jonathan Webb said this meant the she-males needed to be nimble to avoid males who think they are females.
“Males are fooled by looks, but not by smell,” he said.
“She-males are able to maintain this deception by staying one step ahead of a male, and thereby avoiding a nosey tongue that might give the game away.”
The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.(AFP)
1. imitate v.t.
偽裝 (wei3 zhuang1)
例: Alan got into trouble for imitating his teacher.
2. macho adj.
有男子氣概的 (you3 nan2 zi3 qi4 gai4 de5)
例: Nobody is fooled by Arnold's macho behavior.
3. extravagant adj
放肆的 (fang4 si4 de5)
例: An extravagant party was held to celebrate the team's victory.
4. nimble adj.
靈敏的 (ling2 min3 de5)
例: You need to be nimble to do well at this sport.
under your nose
When something happens under your nose, it happens very close to you.
Examples: “The museum couldn’t believe that their prized painting was stolen from right under their noses,” or “Mark was shocked to find that his girlfriend had been cheating on him right under his nose for the past year.”
當某事在非常靠近你的地方發生，就可說是「under your nose」。
Farley: Hey, Conrad. If you could come back as any animal, what would it be?
Conrad: That’s a bit of weird question. Is this some kind of joke?
Farley: No, just tell me the answer.
Conrad: Ok, I’d like to come back as a snake.
Farley:That’s disgusting. Snakes make my skin crawl.
Conrad: Exactly. That’s why I want to be a snake, so I can avoid you.
Farley: That’s not very nice.
Conrad: Well neither are you!
make your skin crawl 全身起雞皮疙瘩
Something that makes your skin crawl is disgusting or horrifying to you. For example: “I can’t believe you like William. He makes my skin crawl!”
某事「make your skin crawl」，就表示你覺得這個東西噁心或是恐怖。例如：「我不敢相信你竟然會喜歡威廉，他讓我毛骨悚然！」。
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