#12 The butterfly survived...and? 燕尾蝶存活了...之後呢?


不久之前,綠色和平展開了保護香港郊野公園的運動,運動用了一首舊粵語歌(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t17Z7WlU7c),當中的歌詞「燕尾蝶 存活了 在發射塔之下  這地球 若果有樂園 會像這般嗎?」觸動我心。

本星期的主題同樣與蝴蝶及其他昆蟲有關。 年少時,我常常流連在生機盎然的近郊地方,那裡有許多如蜘蛛,草蜢和蝴蝶等的小昆蟲相伴。雖然牠們的棲息地至今仍然存在,但已不如往常一樣的生氣勃勃。我們不是氣候科學家或生態學家,但我們確是知道氣候變化會令動物失去棲息地,使牠們因其他物種死亡而餓死,為生物多樣性帶來不良影響。最近一項研究提出另一個氣候變化的不良影響,它不只在北極地區發生,更加席捲全球。它就是曾在今年初侵襲歐洲、北美地區和我們的熱浪。研究顯示,為期五日的熱浪減少昆蟲的交配行為,並降低牠們的生育能力。更令人意外的是,在實驗情景中,當上一代面對過熱浪環境後,昆蟲的後代儘管從未曾置於熱浪的環境下,但牠們的繁殖潛力仍然顯著減低(Sales et al. 2018)。 這個發現向我們發出令人不安的信息:蝴蝶存活了,但牠們的後代仍可能遭受正在發生的氣候變化所造成的跨代的影響。


The butterfly survived...and?

A while ago, Green Peace launched a campaign on protecting the country park of Hong Kong. The campaign used an old Canto-pop song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t17Z7WlU7c) and the lyric that catches me is “the swallowtail butterfly survived under the radio tower, but is that how the Eden look like?”

郊響樂【燕尾蝶】Music Video


「這地球,若果有樂園,會像這般嗎?」香港唞氣喘息的淨土,是前人努力耕耘,傳承後代的禮物。為了繁華,我們「摘去鮮花」,為了文明,我們「情願被同化」,難道就是下一代的命運?郊野公園如今危在旦夕,立即聯署,守護屬於未來的樂園:https ...

This week’s message is also about the butterfly and other insects. When I was a teen, I used to hang around a lively suburb area where I was accompanied by lots of creatures like spiders, grasshoppers and butterflies. Although the habitat has been maintained so far, the place was not as lively as it used to be recently. We are no climate scientist or ecologist, but we know that climate change adversely affects the biodiversity by the loss of habitat and starvation ensue by the demise of species. A recent study suggests another adverse effect of climate change that is happening in not just the Arctic but around the globe, that is the heatwaves that hit us, Europe and North America earlier this year. The study showed that a 5-day heatwave decreases the mating behavior and fertility of insects. More surprisingly, the effect of the heatwave on reproductive potential can still be observed in the offspring although they have never been exposed to a heatwave in the experimental condition (Sales et al. 2018). This sends us a disturbing message that the butterfly survived...but their offspring may still suffer from the transgenerational impact of climate change happening now.

There will be no solution without knowing the cause. Now we know that it is not just the Arctic animal that suffers from climate changes. We do not need to wait until 2030 with over 1.5 degree celsius increase in atmospheric temperature to see the catastrophic consequences. We must act NOW to minimize our carbon footprint in order to minimize the record-breaking extreme weathers on our planet.


Sales, K., Vasudeva, R., Dickinson, M.E., Godwin, J.L., Lumley, A.J., Michalczyk, Ł., Hebberecht, L., Thomas, P., Franco, A. and Gage, M.J.G. 2018. Experimental heatwaves compromise sperm function and cause transgenerational damage in a model insect. Nature Communications 9(1), p. 4771.

Ellis Fok Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

Associate Dean of Student, Lee Woo Sing College

The Chinese University of Hong Kong