Taxonomy

Myrsidea nesomimi is a member of the bird chewing lice group - Amblycera.

Amblyceran lice are successful ectoparasites found on almost any bird species, including domestic fowl.

Evolution

After colonising the Galápagos from the South American mainland several million years ago, the hosts of Myrsidea nesomimi gave rise to 4 endemic mockingbird species distributed at different islands of the archipelago.

It is not known how the parasites responded to dramatic evolutionary changes involved with this colonisation.

Currently, Myrsidea nesomimi and 2 other mockingbird ectoparasites populations are studied by Museum scientists to reveal the details of the evolutionary history shared between the hosts and their parasites.

This will help us to understand how the unique fauna of the Galápagos islands was formed and how it changed through time.

The Galápagos mockingbirds also played an important role in the early days of evolutionary research.

Slight differences in the morphology between Galápagos mockingbirds, and their apparent similarity with South American mockingbirds were first recognised by Charles Darwin during his visit to the archipelago in 1835.

This experience ultimately led Darwin to the idea that species evolve through the time and triggered his work on the evolutionary theory.

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