Lice Reveal Clandestine Lemur Rendezvous
by Elizabeth Pennisi
Figuring out how brown mouse lemurs spend their time has almost been  impossible, even with weekly trapping and releasing of more than 300  animals         carrying an identifying microchip. Enter lice.Graduate student  Sarah Zohdy of the University of Helsinki marked lice living on lemurs  with dots of         different colored nail polish and then recorded when and where  the insects turned up on other individuals.
She was surprised to learn  that the         supposedly solitary lemurs often stray from their home tree,  interacting quite a bit with distant neighbors, particularly during the  breeding season. The lice spread only with contact between lemurs and in this  study were transmitted only among males, Zohdy reported here yesterday  at the annual         meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.  The downside? The distribution of the insects over time, she said,  indicates that “just         a few lemurs could be responsible for a population-wide  louse-borne epidemic.”
(via: Science NOW)     (photo: Sarah Zohdy)

Lice Reveal Clandestine Lemur Rendezvous

by Elizabeth Pennisi

Figuring out how brown mouse lemurs spend their time has almost been impossible, even with weekly trapping and releasing of more than 300 animals carrying an identifying microchip. Enter lice.Graduate student Sarah Zohdy of the University of Helsinki marked lice living on lemurs with dots of different colored nail polish and then recorded when and where the insects turned up on other individuals.

She was surprised to learn that the supposedly solitary lemurs often stray from their home tree, interacting quite a bit with distant neighbors, particularly during the breeding season. The lice spread only with contact between lemurs and in this study were transmitted only among males, Zohdy reported here yesterday at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. The downside? The distribution of the insects over time, she said, indicates that “just a few lemurs could be responsible for a population-wide louse-borne epidemic.”

(via: Science NOW)     (photo: Sarah Zohdy)