Deception in the Wild


By Barbara J. King B. J. キング
English 日本語 日本語
The animal world seems to burst with sugar and spice these days. Evidence for cooperation and compassion among swimming, flying and walking creatures has captured public imagination. In the ocean, groupers, wrasse and eels form a multispecies team, working together to flush out and consume prey in bouts of collaborative hunting. In the sky, variegated fairy wrens and splendid fairy wrens recognize one another, form stable partnerships and jointly defend patches of eucalyptus scrubland. Among chickens, mother hens show empa­thetic distress when they see their chicks experience mild discomfort. Chim­panzees rush to console the loser of a fight, even when they themselves played no part in the altercation. And in an act of ultimate sacrifice, rats give up a chocolate reward to rescue companions made to tread water in a small pool.  女の子の中身は「砂糖にスパイスにいろんないいもの」だといわれるが,昨今は動物の世界も同様に思える。陸海空の様々な生き物が協力し,互いを思いやる例が報告され,人々の関心をとらえている。
For centuries scholars of animal behavior overem­phasized the role of rivalry and violence among animals. The current focus on kindness and care is a necessary corrective to that long-standing view of nature as “red in tooth and claw,” as poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson put it. Yet even as we swoon over animal sweetness, there is a risk of that pendulum swinging too far and eclipsing part of the story. Many animals carry out disinformation cam­paigns aimed at others, within and across species. They mislead, cheat and lie in rampant acts of deception.  動物行動学者は昔から,動物の競争と暴力を強調しすぎだった。詩人のテニソン卿(Alfred, Lord Tennyson)が「歯とかぎ爪の赤」と表現した弱肉強食の世界として自然をとらえる見方が長く続いたが,動物たちの親切と世話に注目する現在の潮流はこれに対する必然の修正だ。
Deception in nonhuman animals is defined as the send­ing out of false signals in an attempt to modify the be­havior of another animal in ways that benefit the sender. Cuttlefish are masters of such disinformation. Relatives of the octopus, they have the ability to quickly change color, thanks to pigment-containing cells in their skin called chromatophores. Their powers of disguise can make mating a turbulent affair. In 2017 marine biologists led by Justine Allen of Brown University reported that they had observed a male common European cuttlefish approach a female as they scuba-dived in the Aegean Sea off Turkey. The female moved away with apparent indifference. The male camouflaged himself against the background for six minutes, leaving the female seemingly unaware of his continued presence. Then, suddenly, he lunged and grabbed her, and the two mated head to head.
 この偽装の力は交尾を大騒動にする場合がある。2017年,ブラウン大学のアレン(Justine Allen)が率いる海洋生物学者チームはトルコ沖のエーゲ海を潜水調査した際に1匹のオスのヨーロッパコウイカが1匹のメスに近寄るのを観察したと報告した。メスは気がないようでオスから離れたが,オスは自分を背景に合わせてカムフラージュしてメスを追った。メスはこのオスが引き続きそばにいるのに気づいていないようだ。これが6分間続いた後,オスが突然メスに突進してひっつかみ,2匹は交尾した。