The range-wide population of American woodcock Scolopax minor has been in slow, steady decline since the late 1960s. The parasite load carried by woodcock and its possible role in the population decline has not been investigated since the early 1970s. A survey of parasites in American woodcock in Connecticut was undertaken in 2002; Sarcocystis spp. was found in 32 of 78 (42%) individuals examined. Elongate sarcocysts, 25 × 125 μ, containing numerous packed bradyzoites with distinct, tightly packed villar projections of the cyst wall, were found scattered throughout skeletal type and myocardial muscle. Sarcocystis spp. was also recorded during the earlier surveys and considered common, but was not examined with the use of electron microscopy. The present study includes the first ultrastructural description of Sarcocystis sp. in the skeletal muscle of woodcock and will serve as a basis for future comparisons in woodcock.
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