He then tested their repellent properties using mosquitoes specially bred at a research lab in Florida for their aggressive tendencies. Douglas dabbed test samples on filter paper, attached that paper to his hand, then put it in a cage with hungry mosquitoes.
It was clear the auklet samples kept mosquitoes away.
"They soon give up trying to land and rest on the side of the cage," Douglas said. "It's a similar reaction to DEET and other repellants. It overwhelms their sensory systems."
Douglas detailed his findings in a "Journal of Medical Entomology" paper. The research is part of his doctoral thesis. He said he was unsure if it will lead to something like a commercial repellant.
"It has potential, but at the same time you'd have to do further research to find out if it's safe to use on the skin," he said.