The featured image for this week comes from a recently published paper called 110 Years of Avipoxvirus in the Galapagos Islands. The research, which was led by Patricia Parker, used avian museum specimens from the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Zoologisches Staatssammlung Muenchen (ZSM) to figure out if the appearance and spread of Avipoxvirus on the islands was connected with human settlement.
They examined 4313 passerine specimens collected between 1898 and 1906 from the museum collections of CAS and 266 finch and mockingbird specimens from the ZSM which were dated from 1891 to 1897. Of the specimens studied from the collection at CAS, they found that 6.3% of the birds showed lesions consistent with Avipoxvirus.
This finding, along with others discussed in the paper, indicates “that 64 years after Charles Darwin collected specimens on the Galapagos Islands the Avipoxvirus was present in its endemic birds.”
The image below is Figure 4 from the paper and is of a Vegetarian Finch (Geospiza crassirostris) collected in July 1906 from San Cristobal Island.