Researchers in Spain have shown a novel way for insects to travel—as larval stowaways in the guts of migrating birds.
"It's the first time insects have been shown to be carried inside birds," reports Andy J. Green of the Doñana Biological Station in Seville. He and a colleague examined droppings in a salt marsh roosting site of waterbirds called black-tailed godwits. The birds were feeding by the thousands on their way from northern breeding grounds to their winter homes in Africa.
The droppings held bloodworms, which grow up to be midges that look like small mosquitoes. The hitchhiking larvae raise new possibilities for ways that aquatic insects move through ecosystems, Green and Mart