Monday, March 11, 2013

Your daily dose of parasites

I found a very lovely AMNH-curated blog with all the parasites your heart could desire. You can sort by host animal or type of parasite, check out the recommended reading, and there's also a long list of contributors who've done interesting work in the field of parasitology. Choice entries include the cochineal (Dactylopius coccus), a cactus parasite used to make carmine red dye, in honor of New York City's Fashion week, as well as that for the common Vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), which is known to display reciprocal altruism - a bat that eats particularly well one night may regurgitate some of its meal to feed hungry neighbors, trusting them to repay the favor when it doesn't feed successfully. Plus, each entry comes with lively little pictures of our bloodthirsty friends.

On the subject of bats, if you're not aware of WNS (White-Nose Syndrome), a cold-loving parasitic fungus that's decimated North American bat populations in recent years and has now spread to populations in 20 states, you should definitely read up on it:

Or ask me, I've been following this issue since 2010 and love talking about it.


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