A study published on December 18 by researchers from Utah University reported that Darwin’s finch could be extinct.
The species was made famous by the English naturalist Charles Darwin. He collected and observed the birds in order to write his evolution by natural selection theory. They are also called Galapagos finches after their home birth.
In four decades it is possible that the medium ground finch will no longer exist due to a parasitic fly. The fly is known by the name Philornis downsi and was first discovered in the Galapagos islands in 1997.
The eggs of this fly are laid in the nests of finches and the larvae damages the whole nest. By infesting the nest and the eggs permanently, the fly harms the success of the reproduction process.
A species of Darwin’s finch could face extinction in as little as four decades because of a parasitic fly, new mathematical models show.
The study has been observing the birds and the harmful fly for five years. The research was done on the Santa Cruz island. After all the data was collected, the scientists ran some studies to see the outcome for the finch species.
Simulations were done according to three possible scenarios. The first pictured that the finch species will have some good years with a lot of food supplies and optimum weather for reproduction. The second scenario imagined that the finch species will encounter bad years, implying bad conditions for breeding as well. And the third scenario showed that the birds will have a combination of good and bad years. The second and third scenario ended with the extinction of Darwin’s birds. The second model predicted that the species will only get to live between 43 and 57 years more. The neutral scenario predicts from 65 to 95 years until the extinction. Unfortunately, only the first scenario showed chances of survival for the medium ground finch.
The major problem is that not only Darwin famous flinch species is endangered. The lead author of the study, Dale Clayton, says that the species that encounter the same fly problem are most probably at risk as well.
Because of the early diagnose, Darwin’s finch could still be saved by solving the infestation problem. If the infestation will be reduced with 40% then the extinction will no longer be possible, according to Jennifer Koop, the co-author of this study.
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