Darwin's finches 'unable to mate' after male birds are infected by parasite

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Darwin's finches 'unable to mate' after male birds are infected by parasite that deforms beaks and causes them to sing 'sub-par songs,' study finds Researchers examined the impact of a parasitic fruit fly on Darwin's finches They found the parasite led to deformed beaks and enlarged nostrils, which has caused them to produce 'sub-par songs' that female finches do not recognize Findings show that the parasite has had 'devastating effects' on their population

By Swns

Published: 01:00 BST, 12 June 2019 | Updated: 01:00 BST, 12 June 2019

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Male Darwin finches are having trouble pulling in birds after a parasite has affected their lovesongs.

The iconic bird's mating powers have taken a nosedive after a fruit fly was accidentally introduced to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Males infected with Philornis downsi's parasitic larvae have been left with enlarged, deformed beaks that produce 'sub-par' songs that females do not like.

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Male Darwin finches are having trouble pulling in birds after a parasite has affected their lovesongs. The parasitic larvae has left the iconic bird with enlarged, deformed beaks

Male Darwin finches are having trouble pulling in birds after a parasite has affected their lovesongs. The parasitic larvae has left the iconic bird with enlarged, deformed beaks

WHAT ARE DARWIN'S FINCHES?

While studying wildlife on the Galapagos Islands in the 19th century, Charles Darwin noticed finches found across different islands were fundamentally similar, but showed variations in their size, beaks and claws. 

This led him to conclude that because of the distance between the islands, the finches must have evolved over time to the different environments they lived in and this ultimately inspired his 1858 theory of evolution by natural selection.

Darwin's finches only live in islands off the coast of mainland Ecuador. 

The finches began as one species and started evolving into separate species an estimated three to five million years ago.

The researchers findings were published in a study in journal The Royal Society's Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 

A team of ecologists said the finches' beaks were

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