Pitohui: the most poisonous bird planet
• Pitohui: the most poisonous bird planet
Russian transcription does not bear any mistakes: bird indeed called Pitohui, or Drozdov flycatcher. This beauty is found only on the islands of New Guinea, where the locals it is not very favor - someone like neighborhood with a venomous bird?
The unexpected discovery
Snakes, frogs and some insects have long taken the poison as a kind of means of attack and defense. However, scientists did not believe that the birds can be attributed to the same strange feature. So that the opening Dambeykera was a real surprise for the entire academic community.
Study of the flora and fauna of New Guinea was engaged in a group of Chicago researchers, headed by Professor John Dambeyker. He accidentally licked his hand once held the little bird, and felt a burning sensation. In 1992 Dambeyker trip he published data, which described three types Pitohui: crested, changeable and rusty. All three species are worked out poisonous substance batrachotoxin.
In fact, ornithologists rather quickly recovered from the shock and built several theories to explain the possible toxicity and other bird species. In particular, the bright colors of feathers tied with a warning factor - so the birds could fight off predators, warning them of the danger.
Drozdov flycatcher - a tiny bird. The length from the tip of the tail to the tip of the beak is only 30 centimeters, and the weight does not exceed 400 grams. Pitohui torso painted bright orange head and black wings brutal. Entrails and bird feathers contain a strong poison batrachotoxin that can kill not only animals, but also humans.
Where does the poison
Pitohui feeds on insects, which prefer specific bugs-nanisani (Choresine pulchra), found only in the forests. It nanisani produce the same poison, which then enters the body pitohui. Batrachotoxin gradually eliminated from the body through the pores of the birds in the skin, and she Drozdov flytrap has developed immunity against the poison.
High concentration batrachotoxin can kill an animal of medium size in just a few minutes. Such an amount of venom (20 mg) contained in one pitohui. For the human dose is not fatal, but can cause a number of unpleasant consequences, from numbness to complete paralysis.
In fact, poisonous bird ornithologists have already met in the past. For example, timber shrikethrush and sinegolovaya ifritah Kowald protected from the danger of the same poison batrachotoxin. Only after the discovery of pitohui scientists began linking the diet of birds with their unusual properties.