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How to Track Lice with Nail Polish

Yes, I said "track," not "kill." This is a method scientists used to track the spread of lice among brown mouse lemurs.
The brown mouse lemur of Madagascar is a five-inch-long primate that sleeps in tree-holes all day and only comes out after dark. To study their social interactions, scientists had to get crafty with toothpicks and a few bottles of nail polish. They trapped 23 male and 9 female lemurs, finding and tagging the lice on each of them with a unique pattern of nail polish dots.

From August to October, they then mapped how lice spread from lemur to lemur, which seemed to mostly happen mostly between males fighting each other for mates. Breeding season began a few weeks into the tracking period, and lice transfers between males shot up dramatically.

You can read what they learned from this study at Discoblog. But you can't help but picture what it's like to camp in the forests of Madagascar, with a toothpick of nail polish in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other, painting each louse on a five-inch lemur. For science! Link -via Not Exactly Rocket Science

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