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Biol Lett. 2007 Apr 22;3(2):117-20.

Malagasy birds as hosts for eye-frequenting moths.

Author information

1
Department of Behavioural Ecology & Sociobiology, German Primate Center (DPZ), Kellnerweg 4, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.

Abstract

While tear-feeding in moths on mammals is widespread, there have been no reports of this behaviour in Madagascar and none on birds. We report that a moth, Hemiceratoides hieroglyphica belonging to the Calpini, a generally fruit-feeding or blood-feeding lineage of noctuids, attacks sleeping birds in Madagascar. This moth is able to intrude its sharply tipped proboscis into a closed bird's eye. The proboscis is characterized by a specific armoury of hooks, barbs and spines similar to that in piercing calpines but dissimilar to that in other tear-feeding moths. This is the first report of exploitation of tears by Lepidoptera from the closed eyes of sleeping birds.

PMID:
17251126
PMCID:
PMC2375961
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2006.0581
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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