The sixteenth in a series of AskNature Nuggets.

Ep. 16: How Does Nature Repel Parasites?

In this episode, Sherry's back to discuss the hooded pitohui bird, one of the first poisonous birds to be documented.
Do you ever get something really awful in your mouth and you feel like going, "Patooey!" Well, there's a bird in New Guinea with that exact name: the pitohui bird. The reason it's called that is because it has these alkaloids on its skin and feathers and it gets that from the food it eats. Scientists think that the reason it has this alkaloid on it --which is the same chemical found in poison dart frogs-- is because it (the alkaloids) protect it from ectoparasites like lice. So maybe we can learn from the pitohui bird how to protect ourselves from lice, bedbugs, and other parasites.

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