Adaptive significance of avian beak morphology for ectoparasite control.

  title={Adaptive significance of avian beak morphology for ectoparasite control.},
  author={Dale H Clayton and Brett R. Moyer and Sarah E Bush and Tony G Jones and David W. Gardiner and Barry Rhodes and Franz Goller},
  journal={Proceedings. Biological sciences},
  volume={272 1565},
The beaks of Darwin's finches and other birds are among the best known examples of adaptive evolution. Beak morphology is usually interpreted in relation to its critical role in feeding. However, the beak also plays an important role in preening, which is the first line of defence against harmful ectoparasites such as feather lice, fleas, bugs, flies, ticks and feather mites. Here, we show a feature of the beak specifically adapted for ectoparasite control. Experimental trimming of the tiny (1… CONTINUE READING

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