Keeps the pennywort from the Galapagos Islands

Keeps the pennywort from the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands wildlife is the most unique species in the world. At that time in the archipelago, off the coast of South America, the naturalist Charles Darwin based his research which later became his “Theory of Evolution”.
Currently the archipelago is a popular place for ecotourism, with wildlife cruises in the Galapagos often sitting at the top of the list of nature lovers desires. However, apart from – and, in some cases, because – the remote geographic position of the island, many species face a serious threat to their survival, and some are extinct. Keeps the pennywort from the Galapagos Islands

The ground birds in the archipelago are a declining group, the most prominent being the Finches Darwin (which are actually 15 separate species) – so named as their “light bulbs” in Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Keeps the pennywort from the Galapagos Islands

Saving the Land Bird

The Charles Darwin Research Institute (CDRI) in Santa Cruz, is a site that is in the travel plans of every wildlife voyage in the Galapagos. Their precious works are essential to the preservation of wildlife archipelago, and one of their many projects is focused on controlling the parasitic flies endangering Finches Darwin.

Philornis Downsi is an introduced species, whose larvae live and eat children from finch chicks, causing many to die in their nests. Ectoparasites are also believed to be responsible for the decline of other poultry species.

Philornis Project

Research conducted by CDRI begins with attempts to enlarge the Philornis larvae downsi in the laboratory, without the help of a poultry host. This difficult task is achieved for the first time by a dedicated undergraduate thesis student, although increasing the number of flies in large quantities required for research purposes continues to cause problems.

Researchers from the CDRI went to Panama to observe the work of the Missile Defensive Maintenance Program, where millions of “sterile” flies were produced regularly to help the project to eradicate invasive caterpillars. The researchers can transfer what they get from this very successful project and apply it to very positive results.

Although CDRI flies are bred in greater numbers because of the team’s achievements to improve some of Panama’s project techniques, making flies into regular marriage still proves a challenge. However, there is a large and dedicated team working on this project, and they are confident they will reach a solution.

Learning more about fly biology is essential for the next step in the program to develop successful methods for controlling the numbers. Once a regular breeding program is conducted, research on flies management effectively will provide a major step forward in the conservation of the domestic birds.

Small Project Makes a Big Difference

For anyone planning a wildlife voyage in the Galapagos, understanding CDR’s vital work will offer greater insight into this incredible world and the challenges it faces. The ongoing Philornis project is just one example of how seemingly small conservation projects have the potential to make a big difference to the archipelagic ecology.

Keeps the pennywort from the Galapagos Islands