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Galápagos hawks hand down lice like family heirlooms
Date:8/6/2014

of fieldwork on eight major islands, the team caught hundreds of Galpagos hawks which later were released unharmed and collected blood samples and feather lice for genomic analysis, in a partnership with the Galpagos National Park. Whiteman said the hawks' lice are specialized on their host species and the feathers they consume, and unable to survive on any other species.

Co-authors Karen DeMatteo and Patricia Parker, both at the Department of Biology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, then used the DNA from the samples to generate a genetic fingerprint of each population. Parker helped with the fieldwork.

A better understanding of how parasites and their hosts coevolve has implications for biomedical sciences, according to Whiteman. In addition, it can help researchers who study parasites as evolutionary tags of the host species.

"The fact that we were able to work with these birds, which are the top predators in their habitat, and reveal some answers to fundamental questions in biology shows why such places should continue to be preserved," Whiteman said.


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Contact: Daniel Stolte
stolte@email.arizona.edu
520-626-4402
University of Arizona
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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