Researchers notice that red-fronted lemurs may possibly chew on millipede…

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Madagascar’s red-fronted lemurs may perhaps have a solution weapon from nature’s drugs cabinet: millipedes. This is according to a study led by Louise Peckre of the German Primate Heart at the Leibniz Institute for Primate Study in Germany. Peckre and her colleagues think that lemurs chew on millipedes to take care of and prevent situations this kind of as itching or pounds decline which are caused by parasites that may live in and all-around their guts. The investigate is released in the Springer-imprint journal Primates, which is the formal journal of the Japan Monkey Centre.

Lemurs, along with other primates like spider monkeys, have a routine of rubbing foreign objects, substances or resources above pieces of their bodies. Experts refer to such actions as self-anointing, and they imagine that animals do this as a kind of interaction, to remove poisonous substances right before ingestion, or as a way of self-medicating.

Peckre and her colleagues observed 5 groups of red-fronted lemurs (Eulemur rufifrons) in Kirindy Forest on the African island of Madagascar. In the course of numerous observations they observed that 6 animals in the groups were being chewing on millipedes (probably Sechelleptus). These millipedes had emerged a handful of several hours after the to start with major rain of the season. The chewing made copious quantities of an orange-colored substance which the researchers assumed was a mixture of saliva and millipede secretions. The animals then rubbed the location all around their genitals, anuses and tails with the chomped millipedes. Very a several millipedes were also swallowed immediately after substantially chewing.

“Self-anointment mixed with consuming millipede secretions might be a way of self-treatment by red-fronted lemurs,” claims Peckre.

The researchers think that the lemurs consume the millipedes exclusively simply because they secrete benzoquinone, a compound that is also known to repel mosquitoes. Self-anointment in this way could support the animals cleanse on their own of parasites normally identified in their gastric process and intestines and, far more specially, Oxyuridae nematodes that are identified to bring about irritation around animals’ anus place. Staying infested with these worms and their eggs generally leads to an animal’s pores and skin to crack out in an itchy rash. The pinworm that can be problematic for human beings is, for case in point, element of this team of nematodes.

“Strikingly, throughout the fur-rubbing observations, we observed the presence of bald areas on the decreased back again of quite a few animals. These are regarded as sit places, and are most likely brought on by recurring rubbing,” points out Peckre. “These bald regions could then point out the existence of infections by Oxyuridae in the population at the time.”

Peckre and her colleagues believe that that the lemurs use the millipedes not only to take care of the affliction, but also to reduce it. The researchers would like to see additional analysis that compares primate species that anoint their body without the need of ingesting the millipedes to those people species that also ingest the millipedes. They be expecting that primates that are more uncovered to digestive parasites would be much more probable to consume the crushed millipedes.

Several species of birds and mammals are recognized to rub by themselves with millipedes and even to eat them. Most millipedes secrete a variety of chemical substances to protect on their own from predators. These chemical compounds are sedative, repellent, irritant and toxic.

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Scientists observe that red-fronted lemurs might chew on millipede…