1914 Journal of the American Medical Association  
PHILADELPHIA The duck is one of the greatest known enemies of the mosquito, and therefore of yellow fever and malaria. It has possibly one of the widest geographical ranges of any of the birds. It is even found in the Arctic and Antarctic regions; also in Australia, where bird life is so peculiar. After trying the ability of fish to devour larvae and pupae of mosquitoes, with varied success, I built two dams near together on the same stream, so that each would have the same environment for the
more » ... reeding of mosquitoes. Each covered nearly 1,400 square feet. In one, twenty mallard ducks, Anas platyrhynchos, were permitted to feed, while the other was entirely protected from water fowl, but well stocked with goldfish, Carassius auratus, variety americanus. The one in which the ducks fed was for several months entirely free from mosquitoes, while the pond protected from ducks and stocked with fish was swarming with young insects in different cycles of life. To the infested pond ten well-fed mallard ducks, Anas platyrhynchos, were then admitted, and as they entered the pond they were first attracted by the larval bactrachians, tadpoles. They, however, soon recog¬ nized the presence of larvae and pupae of the mos¬ quito and immediately turned their attention to these, ravenously devouring them in preference to any other foodstuff present. At the end of twenty-four hours no pupae were to be found and in forty-eight hours only a few small larvae survived. The motion of the water, made by the ducks, of course drowned some of the insects-what proportion cannot be estimated. For some years I have been using ducks to keep down mosquitoes in swamps that would have been very expensive to drain, but I never fully appreciated the high degree of efficiency of the duck as a destroyer of mosquito life until the foregoing test was made. In the work of Howard, Dyar and Knab, entitled "Mosquitoes of North and Central America and the West Indies," will be found1 an essay on the destruc¬ tion of the mosquito and house-fly by Mr. William Beutenmueller, who expresses the opinion that aquatic birds could be used for the purpose of destroying mosquito larvae. Mr. William Lockwood of Boston, an artist, who made a hobby of raising aquatic fowl, also expresses an opinion that the spoonbilled duck is particularly adapted to the destruction of mosquito larvae rest¬ ing on the surface of the water* Mr. McAtee of the Biological Survey found mos¬ quitoes in the gizzard of the mallard duck. While other birds, fish, spiders, bactrachians, arthropods and reptiles are all enemies of the mosquito, none of them have the wide geographical range and the capacity of devouring large numbers of the larvae and pupae on land and water as the duck. Ducks can be used in ponds, swamps, both open and in jungles, and can be driven from place to place. Not only can they be generally used to keep down mosquito life but they also furnish a delicious and valuable foodstuff. We report the first successful isolation of an alkaloid of ergot from the organs in a case of acute ergotism. Hitherto the toxicologist had to rely on the physical properties of this fungus for its identification. Therefore, in those cases in which pharmaceutical preparations of the fungus have been used, it has been impossible to identify the drug. Dragendorff,1 for example, found it impossible to identify ergot by the isolation of any of its constituents from animal tissues. Blythe2 says that "there has been no experience in the separation of the constituents of ergot from the organs of the body, [but] an attempt might be made by Dragendorff's process, but success is doubtful." Mann3 states that "it is practically impossible to separate ergot from the tissues so as to identify it." We, however, have been successful in isolating "ergotinin" by the use of Dragendorff's process. Thanks to George Barger and his collaborators, our knowledge of the alkaloids of ergot is rapidly becom¬ ing complete.4 We were recently called to perform a necropsy in a case of sudden death under suspicious circumstances. Through the kindness of the attending physicians, Drs. J. H. Love and J. C. Edgar, we are able to give the following history of the case : Dr. Love was called on the twelfth of the month to attend a young girl who suddenly became ill, about one hour after supper. He found her cyanotic, with rapid pulse, and she had vomited about two quarts of material looking like food remnants. After stimulation the patient recovered and he thought she had suffered from an acute gastritis.5 Eleven days later, about the same time in the evening, he was called to attend the same girl, and found her in a serious condi¬ tion. She was unconscious, had no control of the bowels, and the urine was suppressed. Clonic convulsions occurred and on palpation of the abdomen he could feel the uterus contracting. This contraction was also noted visually. The stools were bloody and contained pieces of the mucous memgrane of the intestine. Nine hours before death the tem¬ perature rose to 103 F., and nineteen hours after he was first called the patient died without regaining consciousness. On necrospsy a pregnancy was found and the whole gastroenteric tract was the seat of an intense inflammation. The mucous membrane of the small and large intestines was cov¬ ered with a layer of blood, and the membrane was full of punctate hemorrhages. The kidneys, stomach, small and From the Biochemical Laboratory of the Western Pennsylvania Hospital.
doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02570140057018 fatcat:tkgnyxex4zgppb3yhgklkmnbmi