Tag: funny methods

Clever Way to Track Tiny Nocturnal Primates: Decorate Their Lice With Distinctive Nail-Polish Markings

By Sarah Zhang | March 27, 2012 4:33 pm

spacing is important
The unique pattern of dots for each lemur’s lice.

Hey lemur, sit down right here. I’ve got my bottle of nail polish—oh no no, don’t need your hands, let’s look at your ears instead. While we’re at it, can you show me the lice on your eyelids and testes too?

Just another day in the life of a lemur biologist. 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.

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