Evolutionary Biology

Birds get malaria, too

Just like people, birds have the misfortune of being visited by a variety of blood-sucking insects, insects that can transmit all manner of parasites through their bites. Some of those parasites, including ones related to human malaria, come in the form of haemosporidia--single-celled protozoans that take up residence in their host's bloodstream. Using modern lab techniques, scientists are now able to discover the diversity of these parasites living in the bloodstream of wild birds by isolating their DNA from the blood of infected birds.

Who's your daddy? A hybird duck in Glenview

Museums such as the Field are deeply involved with describing and understanding the natural world. Hybrids can confuse that understanding, even to the point that they get described as new species. Many hybrids have English names that reflect that history, like Brewer's Duck (Gadwall x Mallard) and Brewster's and Lawrence's Warblers (variations of Golden-winged x Blue-winged Warbler hyrbids).

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