The Art of Deception

NG美文一篇,图文并茂,非常有吸引力,遂决定翻译一下练练手。图片部分的翻译已有现成的(来源 : 译言,虽然有的地方翻译得还是很有问题,但站在他人的成果上,再慢慢修改毕竟省时省力的多,于是这部分内容通过照搬照抄再略加修改而最终成型。

注意:如果你没什么办法能看到放在picasa图库上的图片的话,我还是劝你放弃阅读此文,一来领略不到视觉上带来的冲击力,二来纯文字的东西也确实是挺枯燥。

原文: 这里

图片: 这里

Three leaf-litter toads collected within yards of each other almost disappear on a forest floor in Panama. Staying alive in the tropics, where nearly everything is food for something else, often calls for such trickery to fool a predator’s eye.

Three 几码之内聚集了三只枯叶蟾蜍(leaf-litter toad),几乎隐入了巴拿马森林的这块地面。在热带地区,几乎一切生物都是另一些生物的美餐。要存活下去,往往就需要利用这种伪装来骗过捕食者的眼睛。

From Drop Box

Create a Diversion
A bird zeroing in on a flag-footed bug perched on a passionflower might see the flutter of red “flags”—the insect’s attempt to divert the hunter’s bite to nonessential limbs, away from its vital core.
Anisocelis flavolineata (insect); Passiflora sp. (flower)

转移注意力
一朵西番莲花(passionflower)上栖息着一只旗足虫(flag-footed bug),一只觊觎已久的鸟儿可能看到了它飘扬的“红色旗帜”—— 旗足虫试图借此使得其天敌在下嘴时远离要害之处,咬它无关紧要的部位。
Anisocelis flavolineata(昆虫);Passiflora sp.(西番莲属,花)

From Drop Box

The Art of Deception
伪装的艺术

Sometimes survival means lying, stealing, or vanishing in place.
欺骗、窃取、消失,有时即是生存之道。

By Natalie Angier
Photograph by Christian Ziegler

作者 : Natalie Angier
摄像 : Christian Ziegler

When Macbeth was told he had nothing to fear until the local woods started ambling up to his castle, the tyrant sighed with relief, for “who can impress the forest, bid the tree unfix his earth-bound root?”

直到树木开始缓缓攀上Macbeth的城堡时他才开始感到恐慌,这位暴君轻叹一声,聊以自慰道:“谁能迫使森林俯首听命,强令树木拔起自己深植的根?”(本博主注:没读过莎士比亚《Macbeth》,不知道所指何意,不过句子写得很拽。我猜主要是强调《Macbeth》里树木会动,与后文各种生物伪装成植物,所以看似“植物”也会动相关联。另外,《V for Vendetta》里V也引用过《Macbeth》中一个句子:I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.)


Macbeth obviously had never been to Barro Colorado Island in Panama.

显然,Macbeth从没去过巴拿马的Barro Colorado岛。

It is 9 p.m. and as dark as a witch’s mummy, but in the cone of light cast by my headlamp, parts of trees seem to be unfixing themselves and wandering at will. A four-inch twig buzzes overhead and thuds onto a nearby branch. A lime green leaf scratches through a pile of brown leaves, finds nothing of interest, and crawls toward another pile.

现在是晚上9点,天气漆黑得如同一具女巫的干尸一般,但是在我头顶小灯发出的一柱柱亮光下,树木的某些部分却像是活了起来,并在随意地游走着。一根四英寸长的“细枝”在高处嗡嗡作响,砰的一下撞上了旁边的树枝。一片淡绿色的“叶子”在一堆枯叶中刨来刨去,感到无甚意思,于是慢慢爬向了另一堆叶子。

I approach the migrants for a closer look, knowing full well what they are but still dazzled by the details, by the almost comical earnestness of the charade they embody. The “twig” is a stick insect, a magnificent specimen of the Phasmatodea clan, its outer sheath a persuasive rendering of striated bark, its tubular body and head punctuated by fake axillary buds and leaf scars—the little knobs and notches that make a twig look twiggy.

我凑近了些,将这些跑动跑西的家伙看了个仔细,我很清楚它们是什么,但它们的很多细节还有它们所拥有的滑稽却又一本正经的伪装还是令我心驰目眩。那“细枝”是一只竹节虫,它极好地代表了竹节虫目这一神奇的种群,它的外鞘像极了皱巴巴的树皮,以假乱真的花苞和叶痕点缀在它管状的身体和头部——这些细小的凸起和凹陷让这根“细枝”看起来更像是很多细枝拼接起来的。

During the day these insects move little and are nearly impossible to distinguish from the sylvan backdrop they imitate, and that, of course, is the point: to remain invisible to sharp-eyed predators that use vision to hunt. Come nightfall, however, sticks and leaf katydids shake off their vegetal torpor to do some feeding of their own—on leaves and forest-floor detritus—at which point their ancient artifice can be admired by grace of our modern artificial lights.

白天这些昆虫伪装起来一动不动,隐身于森林中,很难被发现,而这正是重点所在:不让那些目光锐利的掠食者发现。然后夜幕降临,这时竹节虫和纺织娘们就不再装做是呆呆的植物了,它们开始在叶子上和地表的沙砾中觅食,透过优雅现代的人造光源我们可以欣赏到它们那古老的伪装术。


We are drawn to mimicry and disturbed by it too. As children, we play dress up and let’s pretend, and we understand our fellow hominins through private reenactment. Our most elaborate masquerades—for Halloween, say, or the Day of the Dead—are often tangled up with our deepest fears. What self-respecting Hollywood slasher would be seen without his Munchian mask or mother’s wig?

我们对伪装术既着迷又害怕。在孩童时代,我们就着装扮演各种角色,通过一次次地重新演绎来认识我们的祖先。就说我们万圣节吧(也叫亡灵节),这是我们最为精心准备的化妆舞会,这其中经常夹杂着我们内心深处的恐惧。如果自视甚高的好莱坞恐怖片里没有了面具或者假发会怎么样呢?

Mimicry in nature likewise can charm or repel us, but whatever our human judgments, this much is true: Scamming works, and the natural world abounds with P. T. Barnums, which fill every phyletic niche, sucker every sense. Biol­ogists have barely begun to tally life’s feinting legions or trace the evolutionary and genetic details of each imposter’s disguise. Sometimes the deception serves as camouflage, allowing its bearer to elude detection by predators, prey, or quite often both: In Panama I found a mantid that looked like a few sprigs of radicchio, the perfect cloaking device for a stealth hunter of leaf-eating insects that is itself much coveted by insectivorous reptiles and birds. At other times the swindler wants its merchandise to be noticed; that’s the whole point. An anglerfish wags its head until its fleshy protuberance shimmies like a worm and baits other fish. Carrion orchids sprout large, purplish, fetid blossoms that look and smell like dead meat to attract scavenger flies, which will alight on the flowers, get dusted with pollen, and maybe, just maybe, help the orchid breed.

自然界中的各种伪装术既吸引我们也恐吓我们,但不管我们怎么看,有一点是千真万确的:自然界中的每个角落里都充斥着吓人的把戏和逼真的表演,欺骗无所不在(原文此处提到P. T. Barnum,关于此人的介绍请参见wiki,点这里。简单说来,他说过这样一句话 : There’s a sucker born every minute. 即笨蛋无处不在。其言下之意就是说人是很好骗的。p.s : 不过此句的语法有误。本博主注)。生物学家们对生命的种种伪装现象,对伪装者的进化和基因细节的记录和追踪才刚刚起步。有时,伪装术是一件隐身衣,穿上它可以不被掠食者或者猎物(经常是兼而有之)发现:在巴拿马我发现一种长得很像菊苣(莴苣)枝叶的螳螂,无论是对自己垂涎欲滴、酷爱捕食昆虫的爬行动物和鸟类,还是作为悄无声息的食叶类昆虫杀手而言——这身着装都堪称完美。在其他情况下,这些骗子希望自己的鬼把戏被注意到;这其实是辩证统一的。琵琶鱼会摇头晃脑,让它头上的肉瘤看起来像条虫子,并等着其他鱼上钩。腐肉兰花会开出很大且带有阵阵恶臭的紫色花朵,看起来、闻起来都很像死肉,食腐的苍蝇会被吸引过来在花上停留,并因此沾上花粉,也许会帮助兰花播种,记住,这仅是也许而已。

A finger-length katydid disguised as lichen-coated bark barely registers in the dim understory of a Panama forest. But camouflage is more than just looks—the wearer must also act the part. This nocturnal insect holds stock-still during daylight hours to help conceal its contours.

一只长螽斯(纺织娘,katydid)伪装成一块覆有青苔的树皮,躲在巴拿马森林那不见天日的下层植被中,很难被发现。不过,这种伪装并不仅局限于其外表,披着这层外衣的生物自身也必须成为伪装的一部分。这种夜间活动的昆虫,在白天偃旗息鼓,以达到隐藏踪迹的目的。

From Drop Box

The sensory form that an act of mimicry takes varies according to the sensory talents of the mimic’s target audience. Most familiar to us visual primates are the visual mimics, the ones adapted to fool the eye, like the riparian frogs that crouch in a riverbed and look as slick and round and inorganic as the polished stones around them, or the caterpillar that, when frightened, will hold up its front end to flash a fluorescent salmon pink face with a pair of scary snake eyes. But there are vocal mimics too, like a palatable species of tiger moth that deters bats by parodying the ultrasonic clicks of a toxic moth the bats detest, or like the greater racket-tailed drongo of Sri Lanka, which mimics the calls of other birds to drum up a mixed-species flock in which the drongos can more safely and efficiently forage.

伪装术所采用的感知形式会根据施术者所面对的对象的感知能力而发生变化。对我们视觉发达的灵长类来说最熟悉的莫过于视觉欺骗术,此术用来糊弄眼睛是再适合不过了,比如岸边的青蛙会蹲到河床里,看起来和它周围的鹅卵石一样光滑圆润,绝无生气,或者像毛虫,当它们受到了惊吓它们会抬起身体前段突显出一张长着恐怖蛇眼并发出橙红色荧光的面孔。但是也有针对声音的欺骗术,比如有一种自身美味无比的灯蛾会很搞笑地模仿一种令蝙蝠厌恶的毒性飞蛾的超声波频率,藉此逃避被吞吃的命运;还有一种长着像火箭似的尾巴的伊斯兰卡燕卷尾(反正是一种鸟,我以前没听到过,长相如何请参见wiki,点这里。本博主注)会模仿其他鸟类的叫声,招揽来各式各样的鸟群,它们身处其中会更加安全而且掠夺食物也有效率得多。


Then there are olfactory mimics, such as that mad parfumier the bolas spider, which can lure male moths by secreting perfect knockoffs of the counterpart females’ eaux de toilette. There are even tactile mimics, including a parasitic fungus that lives in the inner chambers of termite mounds, where it is kept warm, moist, and competitor free. Termites are notoriously zealous housekeepers. How does the fungus elicit indulgence rather than expulsion? By assuming the shape and texture of ripe termite eggs.

接下来还是嗅觉欺骗术,就像疯狂的香水商人——博拉斯蜘蛛(老规矩,长相请参见wiki,点这里。本博主注,它能分泌出雌性飞蛾的体味,虽然这些都是赝品却相当完美,可以藉此诱捕雄蛾。更有甚者,还有触觉欺骗术,生活在白蚁堆内部的寄生菌就深谙此道,白蚁巢穴里既温暖又潮湿,而且还没什么竞争对手。白蚁是出了名的家务工作狂。这些真菌是如何不被扫地出门反而能肆意放纵呢?秘诀就是伪装出成熟白蚁卵的形状和质感。


Mimicry fables can sound like O. Henry stories, offbeat dilemmas dapperly resolved. For example, caterpillars are voracious eaters. They chomp their way through many leaves in their lifetimes. Birds love fattened caterpillars, and as they fly overhead, they search for signs of caterpillar activity, most notably damaged leaves. To thwart the aerial reconnaissance, one species of caterpillar has adopted a novel dining style. Rather than tearing through foliage at random, the Geometridae caterpillar cuts its leaves deftly, mincingly, moving along the edges like a seamstress with her scissors, in and out, zig and zag. By the time the caterpillar is done, the leaves may be much smaller, but their borders maintain their maiden serrated form.

模仿秀的故事听起来就像欧·亨利的小说,种种匪夷所思的窘境被天衣无缝地一一化解。比方说毛毛虫——永不知足的贪食者。它们终日啃食着所经路上的叶子。鸟儿们非常喜欢肥肥的毛毛虫,当在上空飞行时,它们搜寻着毛毛虫的活动迹象——那些最显而易见的残枝败叶。为了应对这种高空侦查,有一种毛毛虫采取了很新奇的用餐方式。尺蝶幼虫不是随意地撕开叶子乱吃一通,而是将叶子有模有样地整齐切开,沿着叶边爬行,像个女裁缝拿着剪刀曲曲折折、一进一出地裁剪着。当它饱腹之时,叶子看上去可能会小了很多,但边缘仍保留着完整的锯齿状。


Sometimes the best offense is a ghoulish pretense. Reporting recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Leslie Saul-Gershenz and Jocelyn Millar described the case of the abominable blister beetle and the benighted solitary bee. Blister beetles live in the southwestern deserts of the United States. Females lay their eggs in grassy patches where solitary bees forage. The beetle eggs all hatch simultaneously, and the thousand or so newborn larvae immediately gather together into a tight formation. They form a nice oval shape, all dark and fuzzy. They travel as an inseparable unit, up and down the blades of grass. They look and act just like—a female solitary bee. Before long, they start releasing a pheromone mimic, and now they smell like a female bee too. A male bee lands on what he thinks is a mate, and the blister pack clings to him en masse. Disappointed by the encounter, and seemingly unaware of his cargo, the male bee flies on in search of new love. Should he find and approach a real female bee, the beetle larvae will instantly abandon him and cling to her. The female will take them where they want to go, back to her well-provisioned nest. The larvae will deplane, settle down, and gorge themselves to maturity on nectar, pollen, and, best of all, the bee’s eggs.

令人毛骨悚然的伪装有时是最好的攻击手段。在《Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences》(国家科学学术系列报道)的最新报道中,Leslie Saul-Gershenz 和Jocelyn Millar向我们描述了讨厌的斑蝥(老规矩,长相请参见wiki,点这里。本博主注和善良的独居蜂(老规矩,长相请参见wiki,点这里。本博主注之间的故事。斑蝥生活在美国西南部沙漠。雌性斑蝥将卵产在有独居蜂觅食的草地上,这些卵会同时孵化出来,然后这成千上百的新生幼虫立即聚集起来,紧紧地团成一块。它们呈一个规则的椭圆形,黑乎乎、毛茸茸的。它们作为一个密不可分的整体一同行动,在草叶上上下移动。无论外观和行为上,它们看起来都和一只雌蜂无异。不久之后,幼虫开始释放信息素来伪装自己,现在它们连闻起来都和雌蜂一样了。一只雄蜂以为找到了配偶,于是停落过来,这时幼虫们一起附着了上去。雄蜂对这次的相遇非常失望,于是又飞往他处去结识新欢了,而它却好像没有意识到自己已经带上了“货物”。一旦它找到并靠近了一只真正的雌蜂,斑蝥幼虫会马上弃它而去,转而附着到雌蜂上。雌蜂会带着它们去它们想去的地方——回到雌蜂供给丰富的蜂巢。幼虫们、于是下机住了下来,这里有花蜜、花粉,还是最好的一样东西——蜂卵,这些可以供它们狼吞虎咽,直到它们成熟为止。


Of course, even the most cunning of nature’s caricatures have no narrative mastermind behind them. Mimicry exemplifies evolution by natural selection, the relentless struggle in which parents spawn a diversity of offspring that chance and nature’s cruel eye for weakness shear almost clean away. If your slight resemblance to bird dung gives you enough of an edge that you survive to breed, your progeny may inherit your lucky guano cast. Maybe one will even top you as a droppings imposter, and within a few hundred generations the trait will have spread through the whole population and be the gold standard for your kind.

当然,即便是对大自然最精妙的模仿,其背后也不是有什么人在出谋划策。伪装术是对物竞天择下的生物进化的一种典型诠释,生物进化过程中充满了残酷无情的斗争,父母会产下很多特点迥异的后代,而机会从不会留给羸弱者,大自然的双眼冷冷地盯着那些不完美的成品,几乎将它们消灭地一干二净(这句是我认为最难翻的,高人指点下才有些眉目,主要是要注意句子结构。the relentless struggle…是evolution by natural selection的同位语,看不清这点后面就都看不懂了。而in which parents spawn…这些都是在对the relentless struggle做补充说明。本博主注) 。如果你有那么一点长得和鸟屎相似,并刚好因此而得以存活下来,繁衍生息,那么你的子嗣就可能已遗传到你狗屎运般得来的装屎术。甚至可能有人把你推崇为屎形秀第一人,随后经过数百代的遗传,这个特征将遍及到你的子子孙孙中并成为你们一族的黄金生存法则。(这一段实在太恶搞了,原来NG的文章都会出现这么恶搞的文风啊。。。本博主注。)

Resembling flora more than fauna, a female walking leaf of Malaysia stems from a long line of extreme leaf mimics. This insect group is little changed over 47 million years, judging from a recent fossil find in Germany. The largest of thousands of leaflike species, Phyllium giganteum can unfurl to some four inches in length.

长久以来祖先对树叶惟妙惟肖地模仿被一只马来西亚的雌性叶科昆虫继承了下来,这使得它看上去更像植物而不是动物。从最近在德国找到的一块化石来判断,这类昆虫在470万年间都没有发 生什么变化。作为数千类叶状动物中体型最大的那种,叶虫(Phyllium giganteum)伸展开来可以达4英寸长。

From Drop Box

Mimicry also reveals just how messy evolution can be, how ad hoc and make-do. For example, Ximena Nelson and Robert Jackson report in the Proceedings of the Royal Society on the dilemma of the male Myrmarachne, a jumping spider. Like a number of the world’s jumping spiders, these arachnids have evolved to look like ants, a strategy that plays into the antipathy many predators have for the aggressive, noxiously armed, and ecologically dominant social insects. But the male spiders have a problem with the basic strategy, for mating rituals demand that they sport elongated mouthparts, which could detract from the overall antlike effect. Evolution has hammered out a compromise: Whereas the female spiders look like ordinary ants, the males with their enlarged fangs have come to resemble ants carrying bundles in their mandibles, as worker ants sometimes do. Ingenious, yes, but not perfect. It turns out that although the male jumping spiders are as effective as their female counterparts at deterring the generally ant-phobic among hunters, the males alone fall prey to predators that target ants least likely to fight back—those encumbered with bundles.

伪装术也同样揭示出生物进化可以是多么的糟糕,能将就就将就,能凑合就凑合。举例来说,Ximena Nelson和Robert Jackson在《Proceedings of the Royal Society》(皇家社会系列报道)中讲述了一种雄性跳蛛的窘境。和世界上相当一部分的跳蛛一样,这些蛛形纲生物进化得看起来和蚂蚁一样,它们采取的是一种与其他掠食者截然不同的战略,多数掠食者极富攻击性,武装得凶神恶煞,在生态链上主宰着群居类昆虫。但雄蛛在实行这个战略上有一点点小问题,因为在交配仪式上雄性会被要求炫耀和展示它们细长的口器,这会让雄蛛表现得不那么像蚂蚁。生物进化于是做出了这样的妥协:雌蛛看起来和普通蚂蚁一样,而雄蛛将它们大牙伪装得像用下颚在搬运一捆捆东西的模样,工蚁有时候就是这个样子的。不可否认,这个方法很天才,但却并不完美。事实证明虽然雄蛛和雌蛛一样,能有效的吓阻那些一看到蚂蚁就心生恐惧的猎手,但是当雄蛛落单时它就会沦为捕食者的猎物,这些捕食者通常更喜欢攻击那些无力反击的目标,而最无力反击的正是那些拖着一捆捆东西的蚂蚁。


Scientists are particularly intrigued by imperfect mimicry, where one organism only vaguely resembles another. In some cases, the crude form may indicate a lineage newly embarked on the mimicry path, when evolution has only begun to hone the simulation. In other instances, the disjunction is a result of the mimicked species pulling away from its unwanted copycats. If the warning colorations that you have evolved to advertise your hard-won unpalatability are mimicked by too many edible free riders, your brand name will be cheapened and lose its protective value.

科学家们对于那些瑕疵百出的伪装术尤为感兴趣,这种情况往往发生在一种生物刚刚开始不娴熟地模仿另一种生物时。有些情况下,这些粗糙的造型会揭示出生物和其进化之路上才刚刚开始磨练起来的伪装术之间的关系。另外一些情况下,“李逵们”希望摆脱那些恼人的“李鬼们”,其结果导致了“李逵们”的特征无关性(我发明的词汇。本博主注)。你辛辛苦苦进化而来的警告色是旨在告诉对手自己可不是什么美味佳肴,如果这被太多的效仿者冒充,而它们本身却都非常的美味,那你的牌子就算是砸了,再也起不了什么保护作用了。


Mimicry can also be a great way to preen, or learn, or make a new friend. Among songbirds and humpback whales, competing males seem to imitate each other’s songs. And some dolphins duplicate each other’s flying leaps. Parrots are masters at parroting, and ape is what the great apes do, which is why orangutans can learn to cook pancakes and chimpanzees to hunt with tools, and we compare each other to a summer’s day and mirror each other’s joy with a smile.

伪装术也可以是一种很好的炫耀,学习和交友的方式。在鸣禽或者座头鲸之间,雄性相互竞争的手段似乎是模仿对方的叫声。另外,一些海豚还模仿对方跃出海面飞跃时的姿势。鹦鹉和大猩猩都是模仿大师,这就是为什么大猩猩可以学会煎煎饼,黑猩猩能够用工具捕猎,而我们会互将对方视作明媚的阳光(”compare… to a summer’s day”,这个词是有出处的,借用莎士比亚的一个句子,原话是:Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s day. 老外的文学素养好高啊,叹服。。。本博主注)并和对方一样开怀大笑。

Make Like A Tree
Leaf knockoffs down to brown spots and notched edges, two Mimetica katydids with twiglike legs can rest or feed without drawing attention. Still, their best efforts at blending in sometimes fail. Fleshy, protein rich, and toxin free, katydids are avidly sought and caught by keen-eyed monkeys, birds, lizards, frogs, and snakes.
Mimetica mortuifolia (at top); Mimetica viridifolia

装扮成树

这两只迷彩螽斯(Mimetica katydids)翅膀貌似树叶,上有褐色的斑点,边缘也不平滑;腿则形如细枝。它们在休息或进食时,能够不引起注意。尽管如此,它们这绝佳伪装也还是有失败的时候。肉多味美、蛋白质丰富且无毒性,眼尖的猴、鸟、蜥蜴、青蛙、蛇都不遗余力地寻找和捕获它们。

From Drop Box

Show Two Faces
An extra pair of eyes, even phony ones, can be a boon to insects hunted by predators that target by sight. A saw-nosed plant hopper’s first defense is camouflage.But if a bird, lizard, or other hunter takes aim, the saw-nosed plant hopper can startle its foe by unveiling red spots that could be mistaken for the eyes of a larger animal.

“两面派”
有些捕食者根据外表选择猎物,对于被它们所追逐的昆虫们来说,多出一双眼睛,即使是一双假眼睛,也是一种恩赐。锯鼻飞虱(saw-nosed plant hopper)的第一重防御便是伪装。但是如果一只鸟,或者其他猎捕者还是紧盯它不放,锯鼻飞虱会让它们吓一大跳——方法是露出一对红斑,这对红斑会被误认成一只更大型动物的眼睛。

Show Two Faces

A butterfly pupa, a species discovered in Costa Rica by Daniel Janzen of the University of Pennsylvania, also shows a false face. “Peering” from a rolled-leaf shelter, its eyespots may deter small birds exploring the foliage for insect prey. Though a prevalent ploy in nature, the fake-eye look isn’t foolproof. Animals that get caught may have secondary defenses, like a foul taste or toxic secretion. The plant hopper takes a more spirited approach, buzzing like a stinging wasp to provoke a quick release.
“两面派”
“蝶蛹(butterfly pupa)”——宾夕法尼亚大学的丹尼尔·简森(Daniel Janzen)在哥斯达黎加(Costa Rica)发现的一个物种——也有一张假脸。住在一张卷起来的树叶里,它从中“探出一双眼睛”,对于那些在层层树叶中探索昆虫的小鸟,它的眼斑可以起到威慑作用。虽然这是自然界一个比较普遍的伎俩,但“假眼策略”看起来也不是万无一失的。被捕获的动物们可能有第二重防御,例如散发出异味或分泌出毒素。飞虱则采用了一种更聪明的方式——模仿蜇人的黄蜂常发出的嗡嗡声,吓得对方忙不迭地放手。

From Drop Box
Fake Your ID
Hiding in plain sight, the broad-headed Hyalymenus nymph (upside down) has evolved to look and act like sap-eating ants, much fiercer creatures that can sting or wield toxins, spines, and communal grit. Predators that learn to avoid the ants will also bypass the imposter. But the ploy is risky: If the ants discover the innocuous copycat among them, they’ll attack.
Hyalymenus sp. nymph (ant mimic); Ectatomma sp. (ants)
身份造假
藏在你面前的是头很大的Hyalymenus若虫(脚朝天了),它的外观和行为都已进化地和食树汁液的蚂蚁——这种更凶猛的生物会蜇人或使用毒素、刺以及群体攻击。捕食者通常都会避开这种蚂蚁,于是也就会错过冒名顶替者。但是这种伎俩是很危险的:如果这种蚂蚁在族群内发现了这种无毒的冒牌货,它们就会发动攻击。
Hyalymenus类若虫(蚂蚁模仿者); Ectatomma sp.(蚂蚁)
From Drop Box

Confound the Enemy
Cryptic coloration and a shape like a leaf spine help shield a tropical Geometridae caterpillar, but its feeding behavior is the master stroke. By munching along a leaf’s scalloped contours and keeping the edges well-balanced left to right, “it disguises the damage that could clue a predator to its whereabouts,” says University of Utah biologist Phyllis Coley. For such a nondescript little inchworm, she says, “it’s pretty sophisticated.”

迷惑敌人
保护色和如叶脊般的形状能够帮助一只热带尺蛾(Geometridae)毛虫隐蔽它的行踪,但是更为高明的是它的摄食动作。沿着叶片的扇形轮廓下嘴,同时保持叶子左右两半的边缘对称。“它通过掩饰叶子的受损情况来避免捕食者追踪到它的下落。”犹他大学 (University of Utah)的生物学家菲利斯·康利(Phyllis Coley)说道。她说,这么一只不起眼的小尺蠖可是非常的不简单。

From Drop Box

Confound the Enemy
Modeling fake parts and elegant disguises, many caterpillars keep their enemies guessing. A silk moth caterpillar comes with a false head, complete with mock antennae, to lure predators into biting its rear. Plan B: If the ruse fails, extra spines on the real head may prompt the attacker to spit out its prey still intact.

迷惑敌人
通过制造假象和优雅的伪装,许多毛虫都让它们的敌人琢磨不透。蚕蛾(silk moth)毛虫有一个假头,甚至连假触角都配齐了,在天敌攻击时诱惑对方咬它的后部。它们的B计划是:一旦诡计不奏效,它们真正的头部还暗藏毒刺,能逼迫攻击者马上将其吐出,从而全身而退。

From Drop Box
Get Noticed
For one nematode parasite, the goal is not to escape, but to be eaten. When it hijacks an ant, it turns its host’s back end as red and prominent as a ripe fruit. “This likely dupes a bird into feeding on it and getting a mouthful of nematode eggs,” says ecologist Steve Yanoviak. The bird spreads the eggs via its feces, which the ants eat, continuing the cycle.

引起注意
对于一条线形寄生虫来说,其目的可不是逃跑,而是被吃下去。当它寄生于一只蚂蚁身上时,它会将它宿主的屁股变得像一个成熟的果子一样又红又显眼。生态学家史蒂夫(Steve Yanoviak)说:“这可能能骗得一只鸟把它吃掉,然后这只鸟就吃下了一肚子的线虫卵。” 然后这只鸟通过排便四处散播这些虫卵,而蚂蚁又吃鸟粪,于是就形成了一个循环。

From Drop Box

Get Noticed
In frogs, conspicuous colors often signal toxicity. But a species on islands off Panama doesn’t stick to a single color signal. That’s counterintuitive, says Martine Maan of the University of Texas at Austin, “We’d expect the frogs to look similar so predators could easily learn to associate toxicity and coloration.” But another selective force is in play. Females on different islands have developed tastes for mates of different colors, probably driving male hues to diverge instead of merge. Still, the poison alarm seems effective. Most predators likely just avoid vivid frogs, Maan says, a precautionary tactic for a perilous world.
引起注意
对于蛙类来说,醒目的颜色往往是有毒的信号。但是,在巴拿马的群岛中,有一种蛙并不局限于发出单一颜色的信号。这是反常 的,得克萨斯大学奥斯汀分校(University of Texas at Austin)的马汀娜·马安(Martine Maan)说:“我们以前认为,如果蛙都同色,会使得其天敌很容易地将毒性和颜色联系起来。”但另一种决定性力量在起作用。不同岛屿上的雌蛙已经培养出对 不同颜色的配偶的倾好,这可能使得雄蛙的颜色各异而不是相同。但是,有毒警告似乎仍是有效的。马安说,大多数捕食者可能遇到颜色鲜明的青蛙就避开,这是在 一个危险的世界采取的预防性策略。
From Drop Box
Long, lean, and colored for camouflage, a Deinopis spider, known for its pinched, ogre-like face, vanishes against a dry palm leaf in Panama.

体型又长又窄,还有保护色的一只巨眼蜘蛛(Deinopis spider),“消失”在巴拿马一片干枯的棕榈叶里。该类蜘蛛因其皱巴巴的、怪物般的脸闻名于世。

From Drop Box
Filling a niche separate from its green cousins, Deroplatys trigonodera, a leaf-litter mantid, has evolved the look of a leaf decomposing on the tropical forest floor. The stealthy insect, with large compound eyes for nocturnal hunting, is a master sit-and-wait predator. It lurks unseen and then, with a flash of spiny front legs, snags its unsuspecting insect prey.

作为绿色的Deroplatys trigonodera的近亲,这只枯叶螳螂已经融入了周围环境。这种螳螂的外表,已经进化得就像落在热带森林地表之上的腐叶。由于是夜间出动寻找猎物, 这种隐形昆虫有很大的复眼,是一个守株待兔的大师级捕食者。它静悄悄地潜伏着,然后用带刺的前腿将丝毫没有察觉有何异样的猎物猛地勾取进来。

From Drop Box
When crypsis—the ability of an organism to avoid detection—fails, Deroplatys angustatat, a dead-leaf mimic from Southeast Asia, can flash bright colors and eyespots on the undersides of its legs and forewings to startle enemies.

当crysis(隐形能力)——生物避免被发现的能力不能奏效的时候,东南亚的一种模仿腐叶的螳螂Deroplatys angustatat,可以亮出其腿部和前翅下侧的明亮的颜色和眼斑,将敌人吓得心惊肉跳一跳。

From Drop Box
Eyes and antennae barely reveal the head of the leaf insect Phyllium giganteum. Early botanists believed that leaf insects actually incorporated the foliage they mimicked. As Royal Society Fellow Richard Bradley wrote in 1759, “The insect is nourished by the juices of the tree … and at the fall of the leaf, drops from the tree with the leaves growing to its body like wings, then walks about.” The description “may seem comical with hindsight,” says Edward Baker of the Natural History Museum of London, “but the fact is, we still know very little about the biology of the majority of these species.”
即使是眼睛和触角也很难将这只叶虫(Phyllium giganteum)的头部暴露出来。早期的植物学家认为,叶科昆虫真的和它们所模仿的树叶结合在了一起。英国皇家学会研究员理查德·布拉德利(Richard Bradley)在1759年写道:“昆虫被树的汁液所滋养…树叶就像翅膀一样长入了它们的身体里,随着树叶飘落,它们也掉落地面,然后四处游荡。” 这段描述“在后来看来,似乎有点可笑,”伦敦自然历史博物馆的爱德华·贝克(Edward Baker )说,“但事实是,对这些物种的大多数生物的生活规律,我们仍然知之甚少。”
From Drop Box
It may take a second look—or even a third—to spy Lonchode jejunus, a walking stick detected in Malaysian Borneo.

可能你要看两眼,或是甚至是看三眼,才能发现Lonchode jejunus——马来西亚婆罗洲(Borneo)的一种竹节虫(walking stick)。

From Drop Box

这是NG 8月份的一篇文章(7月中旬其实就已经开始翻阅),能拖到现在才发实在是才疏学浅,翻译地痛苦、校对地痛苦、排版地也痛苦,可还是像有些人说的 : 没那范儿。那怎么办呢?凉拌呗,自娱自乐。其实是骑虎难下,这是NG 8月刊里最短的一篇文章,图片几乎比文字还多,这才让我有了冲动。实际一动手才发现不是那么回事,原本还想着每个月都这么整一篇的呢,如今看来对我而言实在是很有难度,尽力折腾吧。

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Keep working, keep walking~

9 thoughts on “The Art of Deception

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