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Re: ptero-"vampires" (doubtful?)

> Matti,
>      I'm no expert on oxpeckers, but I don't think they "specialize"
> picking at sores and ingesting their host's blood.  I would think
they would
> wear out their welcome real fast if they did that all the time.

"Oxpeckers use their broad, thick, laterally flattened beaks to pick
at and feed on skin parasites such as ticks and embedded larvae. They
also pick at scabs, often opening and enlarging wounds, and probably
obtain their main nourishment from the blood from these wounds rather
than from the ticks."

I didn't mean to say that the oxpecker isn't doing any good to the
animals, but it still is a parasite. For an animal that has a great
amount of skin parasites an oxpecker is certainly a welcome guest,
even if it does drink some blood or pick old wounds, but what about
animals with little or no parasites? It's also interesting that
elephants won't tolerate these bloodthirsty little dinosaurs on their
backs :)

Matti Aumala