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「夜來巴掌聲,蚊子知多少」- The Loathsome, Lethal Mosquito


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What's the worst bug on the planet? You might vote for the horsefly or perhaps the wasp, but for many people, the worst offender is by far the mosquito. The buzzing, the biting, the itching, the mosquito is one of the most commonly detested pests in the world.
地球上最壞的蟲子是什麼?你可能會投給馬蠅,或也許投黃蜂一票,但對許多人來說,最壞的討厭鬼顯然是蚊子。那嗡嗡聲、那叮咬、那搔癢,蚊子是世界上最普遍被憎惡的害蟲之一。

In Alaska, swarms of mosquitoes can get so thick that they actually asphyxiate caribou. And mosquito-borne diseases kill millions of people every year. The scourge that is the mosquito isn't new. Mosquitoes have been around for over a hundred million years and over that time have coevolved with all sorts of species, including our own. There are actually thousands of species of mosquitoes in the world, but they all share one insidious quality: They suck blood, and they are really, really good at sucking blood.
在阿拉斯加,蚊子群可以變得非常密集,密到牠們竟然讓北美馴鹿窒息而死。而且蚊媒疾病每年殺死數百萬人。罪魁禍首是蚊子並不新奇。蚊子已經存在超過一億年了,且在那段時間已經隨著各式物種同步進化,包含我們自己。全世界實際有數千種蚊子,但牠們都有一個陰險的特質:牠們吸血,而且牠們對吸血真的、真的很在行。

Here's how they do it: After landing, a mosquito will slather some saliva onto the victim's skin, which works like an antiseptic, numbing the spot so we don't notice their attack. This is what causes the itchy, red bumps, by the way. Then the bug will use its serrated mandibles to carve a little hole in your skin, allowing it to probe around with its proboscis, searching for a blood vessel. When it hits one, the lucky parasite can suck two to three times its weight in blood.
牠們是這樣做的:在降落後,蚊子會在受害者的皮膚上厚厚地塗抹一些唾液,唾液就像是消毒劑一樣,麻痺那個點好讓我們不會注意到牠們的攻擊。順帶一提,蚊子唾液就是造成搔癢、泛紅腫塊的原因。然後那蟲子會用牠的鋸齒狀上顎來在你的皮膚上割一個小洞,讓牠得以用牠的口器四處刺探,尋找血管。當找到血管時,這隻幸運的寄生蟲能吸取自己體重二到三倍的血液量。

Turns out we don't really like that too much. In fact, humans hate mosquitoes so much that we spend billions of dollars worldwide to keep them away from us—from citronella candles to bug sprays to heavy-duty agricultural pesticides. But it's not just that mosquitoes are annoying, they're also deadly. Mosquitoes can transmit everything from malaria to yellow fever to West Nile virus to dengue. Over a million people worldwide die every year from mosquito-borne diseases, and that's just people. Horses, dogs, cats, they can all get diseases from mosquitoes too.
結果我們並不太喜歡那樣。事實上,人類非常討厭蚊子,討厭到我們在全世界花費數十億來阻止蚊子接近我們--從香茅蠟燭到殺蟲劑到強效農業用殺蟲劑。但不只是因為蚊子煩人,牠們還會致命。蚊子能傳播任何疾病,從瘧疾到黃熱病到西尼羅病毒到登革熱。全世界每年有超過一百萬人死於蚊媒疾病,而那還只是人而已。馬、小狗、貓,牠們也都會因為蚊子而染病。

So, if these bugs are so dastardly, why don't we just get rid of them? We are humans after all, and we're pretty good at getting rid of species. Well, it's not quite so simple. Getting rid of the mosquito removes a food source for lots of organisms, like frogs and fish and birds. Without them, plants would lose a pollinator. But some scientists say that mosquitoes aren't actually all that important. If we got rid of them, they argue, another species would simply take their place, and we'd probably have far fewer deaths from malaria.
所以,如果這些蟲這麼卑劣,我們何不就消滅牠們呢?畢竟我們是人類,我們頗擅長消滅物種的。嗯,事情沒那麼簡單。消滅蚊子會除掉很多生物的食物來源,像是青蛙和魚以及鳥。沒了蚊子,植物會失去傳粉昆蟲。但有些科學家表示蚊子實際上並不那麼重要。如果我們消滅蚊子,科學家主張,其他物種會就取代蚊子的位置,而我們大概會少很多因瘧疾而死的人。

The problem is that nobody knows what would happen if we killed off all the mosquitoes. Something better might take their spot, or perhaps something even worse. The question is, Are we willing to take that risk?
麻煩的是沒人知道如果我們殺光所有蚊子會發生什麼事。某個比較好的物種可能會取代蚊子,或也有可能是某種更壞的東西。問題是,我們願意冒那險嗎?

  • 「投票支持」- Vote For

    What's the worst bug on the planet? You might vote for the horsefly or perhaps the wasp...
    地球上最壞的蟲子是什麼?你可能會投給馬蠅,或也許投黃蜂一票...

  • 「顯然」- By Far

    You might vote for the horsefly or perhaps the wasp, but for many people, the worst offender is by far the mosquito.
    你可能會投給馬蠅,或也許投黃蜂一票,但對許多人來說,最壞的討厭鬼顯然是蚊子。

  • 「避免靠近、使離開」- Keep Away

    In fact, humans hate mosquitoes so much that we spend billions of dollars worldwide to keep them away from us...
    事實上,人類非常討厭蚊子,討厭到我們在全世界花費數十億來阻止蚊子接近我們...

  • 「擺脫、消滅、除去」- Get Rid Of

    So, if these bugs are so dastardly, why don't we just get rid of them?
    所以,如果這些蟲這麼卑劣,我們何不就消滅牠們呢?

  • 「畢竟」- After All

    We are humans after all, and we're pretty good at getting rid of species.
    畢竟我們是人類,我們頗擅長消滅物種的。

  • 「殺光、消滅」- Kill Off

    The problem is that nobody knows what would happen if we killed off all the mosquitoes.
    麻煩的是沒人知道如果我們殺光所有蚊子會發生什麼事。

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