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11/30/2017 9:27 AM
 

Interesting story on exotic island apple snail (Pomacea maculata):

 

Things Looked Bleak Until These Birds Rapidly Evolved Bigger Beaks

Conservationists have been sounding the alarm over invasive species for years, warning of the damage they can cause to habitats and native animals. But in Florida, an invasive snail might be helping an endangered bird species come back from the brink, researchers say.

The population of North American snail kites — birds that use curved beaks and long claws to dine on small apple snails in the Florida Everglades — had been dwindling for years, from 3,500 in 2000 to just 700 in 2007. Things began to look particularly bleak in 2004, when a portion of the Everglades was invaded by a species of larger snail that the birds had historically struggled to eat. Ornithologists assumed the shift would hasten the snail kite’s decline.

But the number of snail kites in the Everglades grew over the decade following the invasion of the larger snails. The reason, according to a studypublished Monday in Nature Ecology and Evolution, is that the snail kites have rapidly evolved larger beaks and bodies to handle the bulkier snails.

more at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/28/science/birds-beaks-evolution-snails.html

Study at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0378-1

 
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HomeHomeGeneralGeneralFishy NewsFishy NewsIsland apple snail in aquarium trade?Island apple snail in aquarium trade?