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Flesh-eating flies map forest biodiversity

January 11th, 2013
When a blowfly feeds on the corpse of an animal, it carries away large amounts of it’s DNA. Scientists have now realized that by sequencing this DNA they have a whole new way of assessing biodiversity.

“By baiting nets and traps with meat, the team collected carrion flies from Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire and Kirindy Reserve in Madagascar, and found that 40% of them carried mammal DNA. The researchers sequenced this material to identify 16 mammals in Côte d’Ivoire, including six of the nine local primate species, as well as Jentink’s duiker (Cephalophus jentinki) — an endangered antelope of which fewer than 3,500 remain. In Madagascar, the team identified four mammal species — including two lemurs — representing one in eight of all the island’s mammals.”

Read more: http://bit.ly/134V0vt

Image: WARWICK SLOSS/NATUREPL.COM

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