Philornis downsi harms Darwin's finches and other land birds
Philornis downsi is a parasitic muscid fly that is native to mainland South America. Decades ago, it was accidentally introduced to the Galápagos Islands, where it harms Darwin's finches and other land birds.
Females lay eggs inside active bird nests, and then the resulting larvae feed on the nestlings. The first-instar larvae feed inside the nares (nostrils) of the baby birds, while the second and third instars feed by scratching the birds' skin and ingesting the blood and other bodily fluids.
No one knows exactly how the flies were introduced to the Galápagos, or where they came from, but scientists have hypothesized that they probably came from mainland Ecuador, even though they have never been found there.
Now research reported in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America seems to support that hypothesis, as scientists have documented the presence of P. downsi at two sites near Ecuador's coast.
In addition, they found two new species of birds that were previously unknown to be attacked by the flies -- the streak-headed woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii) and the fasciated wren (Campylorhynchus fasciatus) -- bringing the total number of host species to 37.
There may also be some good news, as the researchers also discovered evidence of at least one parasitoid wasp that attacks the flies. However, further research on the parasitoid would be necessary before biological-control releases could be contemplated.
The full article, "Philornis downsi (Diptera: Muscidae), an Avian Nest Parasite Invasive to the Galápagos Islands, in Mainland Ecuador," is available at http://dx.
The Annals of the ESA is published by the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has nearly 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit http://www.
Richard Levine | EurekAlert!
New application for acoustics helps estimate marine life populations
16.01.2018 | University of California - San Diego
Unexpected environmental source of methane discovered
16.01.2018 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.01.2018 | Awards Funding