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Implications of Canada, snow, and white-fronted geese and Northern bobwhite as disease reservoirs for the Attwater's prairie-chicken
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(Pasteurelia multocida) and Trichostrongylus tenuis, may be responsible for the continuing decline of the endangered Attwater's prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri). Because geese are known to contract these and other diseases of concern, 10 Canada (Branta canadensis), 24 snow (Chen caerulescens), and 22 white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) were examined for endoparasites. Northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) (n = 62), the closest relative of Attwater's prairie-chickens with sympatric range, were examined for ectoparasites, endoparasites, and hemoparasites and serologically tested for 8 infectious diseases. Autopsies of 4 Attwater's prairie-chickens were performed. Geese harbored 3 cestode, 7 nematode, and 3 trematode species. Gizzard worms (Amidostomum anseris, A. spatulatum, or Epomidiostomum crami) infected 53 of 54 examined gizzards. Trichostrongylus tenuis was found in 4 of 13 geese examined. Gizzard worms frequently caused obvious localized damage to the gizzard lining; other parasite species did not appear to cause pathology. Northern bobwhite harbored I cestode, 4 nematode, and numerous unidentified lice and mite species. Raillietina spp. was found in 27 of 62 northern bobwhite, Strongyloides avium in 20 of 62, and T. tenuis in 60 of 62. Parasites did not appear to cause pathology in northern bobwhite. There was no significant (P < 0.05) correlation of parasite intensity and host weight for either geese or northern bobwhite. All hematologic tests and serologic tests were negative. Dispharynx nasuta was found in I of 3 and T. tenuis in all 3 Attwater's prairie-chickens examined for these parasites. Intensity of T. tenuis exceeded 1,100 in 2 individuals. Numerous unidentified lice and mites were taken from I bird. Geese appeared to harbor less potentially harmful parasites for the Attwater's prairie-chicken than did northern bobwhite. It is recommended that further examination of Attwater's prairie-chicken, sympatric northern bobwhite, and wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) for disease agents be conducted. Research on pathology of disease agents is needed to determine the effects of these diseases on Attwater's prairie-chicken.
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Purvis, Jonny Ray (1995). Implications of Canada, snow, and white-fronted geese and Northern bobwhite as disease reservoirs for the Attwater's prairie-chicken. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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