Alaska's King

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Alaskan seabird emits citrusy fresh natural insect repellent

Crested auklets are small birds that in colonies of more than 100,000 on islands near Alaska and Siberia. They emit a citrus-like substance that effectively repels mosquitoes and other pests, researchers report in this month's Journal of Medical Entomology.

The birds seem to produce the odor in a gland and then preen the chemicals into their feathers, but it is not yet clear how they accomplish the feat.

Scientists believe some sort of fatty-acid synthesis is going on that makes the pleasant, citrus-like odour similar to the smell found in tangerines, oranges, and other fruits.

The odor is so distinctive that the bird colonies can be smelled more than a kilometer away.

The chemical may also be used as a pheromone, helping single auklets find a suitable mate. The chemical is similar to one produced by other creatures, including stinkbugs.

The discovery raises the prospect of new, all-natural insect repellents, but more research is needed to determine if the scent is suitable for human use.

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Anonymous King Farker said...

I'm getting me a pair of these. Then, every day, I'll preen myself with one or the other. Keeps the bugs away, and drives the chicks wild!

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I want to know is: Do they taste like chicken?

Maybe lemon chicken. Mmmmm.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's with the fishy vaginal odor ads?

1:12 AM  

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