Researchers Raise Maggots on Chicken Blood to Save Darwin’s Finches

By Meredith Swett Walker In 1676, the great scientist Isaac Newton (of gravity fame) wrote a letter to another scientific titan, Robert Hooke (who had coined the biological term “cell”), in which he humbly stated, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Even in using that line he was […]

Invasive Parasitic Fly on Galápagos Islands Probably Came from Mainland Ecuador

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 […]

Insecticidal Nesting Materials May Help Birds on the Galápagos Islands

Birds on the Galápagos Islands known as Darwin’s finches have been threatened since the 1990s by parastic, blood-sucking flies (Philornis downsi) that were accidentally introduced to the islands via ships and boats. The flies now infest all land birds there, including most of the 14 species of Darwin’s finches, two of which are endangered. Fewer […]