The Loh Down On Science

Lousy Science

The lemurs of Madagascar--they like to move it, move it.

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying not the ones in the movie--real ones. In this case, tiny brown-mouse lemurs. Weighing in at under two ounces--and notoriously reclusive--they're kind of hard for scientists to follow--literally! So ... Where do they go? What do they do?

Just catching the little critters in traps and microchipping them wasn't getting University of Helsinki researchers very far.

Then, graduate student Sarah Zohdy had an idea. Before releasing trapped lemurs, she painted different colored nail polish dots on teensy lemurs' even-teensier lice!

Then, whenever the team trapped a lemur, they checked for a microchip and colored lice!

Turns out, the supposedly solitary lemurs weren't so solitary after all. They were ranging far enough, and getting close enough, to trade lice! Oddly, though, only male lemurs traded the pests--and only a few males to boot.

I went to Madagascar, and all I got was this lousy T-shirt. So they might say.



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