SciBites: Week of February 24th

SciBites: Week of February 24th

Humans, chickens and turkeys are main blood-meal sources for South American mosquitoes

Researchers have used traps and DNA analysis of the main mosquito vector of malaria in Central and South America, Anopheles darlingi, to determine its blood-meal sources. They found that humans were the most common blood source (42.5 percent), followed by chickens and turkeys (25.1 percent), with blood from dogs, pigs, goats and rats also being detected. The new information can be taken into consideration when studying malaria transmission.

US forest cover decreased by 2.96 percent during 1990s

Forest attrition — the complete removal of forest patches — can cause habitat losses as well as severe declines in the population sizes and richness of species. A new study used satellite-derived land cover data for the continental U.S. to study geographic patterns of forest cover during the 1990s, and found a 2.96 percent loss of forest cover over the decade, particularly in the western and rural U.S. Such information can inform proactive conservation strategies.

European colonists brought new ulcer-causing bacterial strains to the Americas

Strains of the stomach-ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori, collected in North, Central and South America, have undergone genetic analysis. The results suggest that foreign strains, introduced by Europeans and African slaves, intermingled with local American strains and evolved quickly to outcompete them. The research could be useful in exploring how individual bacterial strains affect different human populations.

Image Credit: Kaisa Thorell, Koji Yahara and colleagues


Beth works at PLOS as Journal Media Manager. She read Natural Sciences, specializing in Pathology, at the University of Cambridge before joining PLOS in 2013. She feels fortunate to be able to read and write about the exciting new research published by PLOS.

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