Local June 29, 2019 | 6:28 am

DR’s national bird still needs your help!

Cigua Palmera or Palmchat national bird of the Dominican Republic

By Renn Loren

Ecologists, ornithologists, and entomologists are still trying to determine the level of threat possibly facing the national bird of the DR known as  Cigua Palmera or Palmchat, in English. The bird is important for the distribution of several plants on the island.

There is a fly by the unruly name of Philornis downsi which lays eggs in the nests of birds. Its parasitic larvae then take up residence in the baby birds and can threaten their lives as they burrow through them.

In the time since The DR is for the birds (or, well, it should be!) piece appeared the Palmchats have built new nests in the same palms in which their nests had formerly been torn down. Unfortunately, the fledglings from this season also seem to display signs of larvae infestation.

We need fresh adult fly specimens and would like to ask you for your help. If you live in or happen to be staying anywhere in the DR and have seen a fly that looks exactly like this…

Wanted! Philornis downsi

Another view of P. downsi

The distinctive red eyes and striped thorax of P. downsi

Please catch it, contain it, and contact the eminent Dominican entomologist Kelvin Guerrero: kaguerrero@hotmail.com / https://sites.google.com/site/kguerreronet/ 

This is a possible ecological crisis so your help is very much appreciated.