Posts Tagged 'Ectoparasites'

Birds Use Cigarette Butts As An Insecticide

According to New Scientist –

Is this a cigarette habit with some benefits? A species of urban bird seems to harness the toxic chemicals in cigarette butts in its fight against nest parasites – although there is a downside to the practice.

The results suggest that the finches are using the cigarette butts to “medicate” their nests against the ticks, says Macías Garcia. ‘‘Ectoparasites such as ticks and mites cause damage to finches – for example, eating their feathers and sucking their blood,” he says. However, Macías Garcia’s earlier studies suggest the habit is harmful too. “The butts cause [genetic] damage to finches by interfering with cell division, which we assessed by looking at their red blood cells,” he says.

Continue reading HERE.

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