HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
How lice and bird feathers stick together

Dec. 8, 2003 University of Utah biologists twirled louse-infested bird feathers on an electric fan and flew pigeons and doves like kites on strings in a study that found small lice stick to small birds and big lice prefer big birds.

The study also showed why size matters to parasites: Lice infest bird species with feathers that are just the right size so the insects can hide between individual "barbs" the hair-like branches that extend from the shaft of each feather. When lice can hide in the feathers, the birds cannot preen them off with their beaks.

Why should anyone care? More than half of all species on Earth are parasites, or bacteria and viruses that act like parasites. The great diversity of parasites is tied to the fact that many parasite species evolved so each usually infests only one species of host organism.

The study "is one of the best demonstrations to date of why parasites are often specific to a single species of host and under what conditions they jump hosts," said evolutionary ecologist Dale H. Clayton, the study's first author and an associate professor of biology at the University of Utah. "This is of strong interest to the public, particularly when it concerns parasites such as SARS and the West Nile virus."

"Sometimes parasites from domestic animals switch to humans and sometimes they don't," says biology doctoral student Sarah E. Bush, a co-author of the study. "So looking at how parasites on birds switch to other species of birds may help us understand how parasites from mammals switch to humans."

The study is being published online the week of Dec. 8, 2003, by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was conducted by Clayton; Bush; former biology undergraduate Brad Goates, now a University of Utah medical student; and former postdoctoral researcher Kevin Johnson, now at the Illinois Natural History Survey.

SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which killed 916
'"/>


8-Dec-2003


Page: 1 2 3 4 5

Related biology news :

1. Isotopes from feathers reveal bird migration
2. Bronx Zoo feathers help save rare birds half a world away
3. First dinosaur found with its body covering intact; displays primitive feathers from head to toe
4. Ancient fossil shows earliest feathers, may end argument about birds origin
5. Scientists discover new intricacies in how ulcer bugs stick to stomach
6. Fish, FRAMES and sticky chemicals net technology award for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
7. Study shows prions stick around in certain soils
8. Atomic force microscope used to measure how well live bacteria stick
9. A switch that makes a blood clot sticky found within the platelet membrane
10. A closer look yields new clues to why bacteria stick to things
11. Walking sticks lost wings, then re-evolved them

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:10/4/2019)... , ... October 04, 2019 , ... ... will be held November 10 at the Grand Elysée Hamburg Rothenbaumchaussee in Hamburg. ... Europe again this November,” said Miao Guo, Vice President of Operations and spokesperson ...
(Date:10/3/2019)... ... October 01, 2019 , ... The ... of chemicals, reagents, and medias and to be a more environmentally sustainable evolution ... culmination of years of experience and feedback from the original version we launched ...
(Date:10/3/2019)... ... 02, 2019 , ... Connecticut Innovations (CI), Connecticut’s strategic venture ... innovative, growing companies, today announced that it has closed on a $750,000 investment ... the 2018 VentureClash competition. , The outlay is part of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/3/2019)... ... October 02, 2019 , ... Rapid Novor, Inc., ... announce that it has moved into a new, 5000 sqft, purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility. ... facility demonstrates the company's continuous commitment to quality research and service offerings. ...
(Date:9/24/2019)... ... September 24, 2019 , ... ... technologies, development, and manufacturing solutions for drugs, biologics, gene therapies, and consumer ... focused on the development of therapies to treat central nervous system (CNS) ...
(Date:9/17/2019)... ... 2019 , ... Catalent, a global leader in clinical supply ... Pacific (APAC) will present at the upcoming 3rd Annual Accelerating Clinical Trials in ... Thursday, Sept. 26, at 10:10 a.m., Ms. Delaney will present “Singapore: APAC’s Clinical ...
(Date:9/17/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... September 16, 2019 , ... ... Nationwide via CNBC on Saturday, September 21st @11:00am ET. Check local listings for ... Pte. Ltd. (Credo Biomedical), a molecular diagnostic company from Singapore dedicated to ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: