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这些蝴蝶是一样的吗? – 译学馆
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这些蝴蝶是一样的吗?

Are These Butterflies The Same?

大约在美国独立战争的时候
Around the time of the American Revolution,
北美的一些昆虫学家对蝴蝶的关注
some North American lepidopterists were paying more attention
甚至超过茶和税收
to butterflies than to tea and taxes.
当英军与反抗军列阵对垒时
As the redcoats and rebels squared off,
那些蝴蝶搜集研究人员却也聚集了自己的标本大军
the butterfly-chasers gathered their own army of specimens,
其中包括线蛱蝶属中的两个新品种
including two new species in the genus Limenitis.
一种是叫做White Admiral的白蚊蛱蝶 黑色配有白条纹
One was the White Admiral, a black butterfly with white stripes.
这种白蚊蛱蝶主要分布在加拿大 是该国魁北克地区代表性昆虫
The Admiral lives mostly in today’s Canada was the official insect emblem of Quebec.
在加拿大最南边 接近美国的地方
And further south in the soon to be USA,
昆虫学家发现了一种有着黑蓝褐三色花纹及桔黄色斑点的蝴蝶
lepidopterists found a butterfly that with black and blue and brown with yellow orange spots.
昆虫学家将其命名为红斑蛱蝶
the lepidopterists named the Red-Spotted Purple which somehow stock.
现在它们是纽约州的代表性蝴蝶
Today, the Purple is New York State’s butterfly.
这两种蝴蝶的命名似乎都不完全准确
Neither insect’s name seems totally spot-on,
但白蚊蛱蝶的命名在某种意义上来说还算合理(White Admiral字面意思为白衣将军)
but the White Admiral is true to it’s title in one sense
如同战区的突击队员 它们用迷彩来伪装自己
like a commando in a combat zone, it uses stealth to survive.
蝴蝶身上的白条纹使它的轮廓模糊
It’s white stripes break up its butterfly outline,
使得捕食者很难发现
making it harder for predators to target.
相反 红斑蛱蝶却更想展示它艳丽的颜色
The Red-Spotted Purple, on the other hand, wants to be seen.
它翅膀上如火焰般艳丽的花纹 使它看起来像另一种有毒蝴蝶
It’s flamboyant coloration mimics the wing pattern of another poisonous species in it’s range.
捕食者会认为它们太危险而放弃
fooling predators into thinking it’s too it’s too dangerous to eat.
曾经 对于昆虫学家来说情况就是这样简单
For a while, the Admiral in purple seemed pretty straightforward for the lepidopterists:
两种蝴蝶 两种花纹 两种生存方式
there were two butterflies with two wing patterns and two approaches to survival
分布于两片隔绝的地域
and two almost totally separate territories.
然而在美国和加拿大接壤处 情况却变得复杂了
but something funky happens near the U.S.-Canada border,
两种蝴蝶的生活区域重叠了
where the two insects’ ranges overlap.
这里的蝴蝶既有彩色斑点又有白色条纹
Here,there’re butterflies with both colorful spots and white stripes.
或许可以叫做红斑白蚊蛱蝶
kind of like Red-Spotted Purple White Admirals.
确定无疑 这些长相奇怪的蝴蝶就是
And sure enough,those butterflies turned out to be the odd-looking offspring
白蚊蛱蝶和红斑蛱蝶的后代
of the White Admiral and Red-Spotted Purple.
显然 当两个生物看起来非常不同时 自然会被划分为不同的物种
Obviously when two organisms look very different, it’s natural to want to call them different species.
但这两种蝴蝶除了花纹有差异 在其它方面却惊人相似
But underneath their colors, these two butterflies are surprisingly similar
如基因方面 身体结构方面 还有它们相互之间跨种交配
genetically,anatomically, and romantically
和同种交配相比一样容易
in fact, they mate with each other in the wild just as readily as they mate with their own type.
所有这些因素说服科学家 将这两种花纹的蝴蝶在生物学分类上归为一类
All those factors eventually convinced scientists to bring the two butterflies together in taxonomic union,
看似不同的两种蝴蝶其实是一个品种
the two species became one.
不仅仅蝴蝶的花纹能迷惑人的判断
And it’s not just butterflies whose looks can be deceiving
许多跨界的亲缘物种
many other cross border cousins aren’t nearly as different
也并不如他们的条纹和斑点所显示的不一样
as their various stripes and spots suggest.

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