Learn about the ecosystem living in the fur of the Central American sloth, in this episode of Gross Science from NOVA. Sloths are covered by green symbiotic algae, which keeps the sloths camouflaged in the trees where they live, and may provide nutrition for them. Within their fur live moths, which wait for the sloths to come down from the trees and poop—about once a week— so they can lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the poop. Can you say coprophagous? That means poop–eater. Other organisms live in sloth fur, like scarab beetles, mites, and parasites that cause skin lesions. This resource is part of the NOVA: Gross Science Collection.
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