Chandlerella quiscali is a filarial nematode parasite of the common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula), a widespread bird species found throughout most of North America. Worms collected from wild-caught birds were morphologically identified as C. quiscali and tested for the presence of Wolbachia, an alphaproteobacterial endosymbiont required for reproduction and maturation by many filarial species. Although various methods, including polymerase chain reaction, in situ hybridization, and immunohistology, were used, we were unable to detect evidence of colonization with Wolbachia. Due to the widespread distribution of the grackle host, localization within the host, and high prevalence, C. quiscali may be among the most easily obtainable of Wolbachia-free filarial species. Further studies of C. quiscali and other Wolbachia-free filarial species may help to clarify the reason(s) that some filarial species require Wolbachia but others do not.
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