Twenty-three of 310 blood samples taken from live-trapped eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) from Missouri (USA), and hunter-killed birds from Wisconsin, North Dakota and Minnesota (USA), and inoculated into domestic broad-breasted-white turkey poults were positive for two species of Plasmodium. Twenty-one of the positive samples were infected with P. (Novyella) kempi, and two samples from Wisconsin were infected with P. (Giovannolaia) lophurae. Twenty percent of 310 blood smears were positive for Haemoproteus melagridis, while only 3% were infected with Leucocytozoon smithi. A statistically higher prevalence of Plasmodium spp. from 1983 to 1984 was observed in Wisconsin, and in the samples from Minnesota when compared with both Missouri and Wisconsin. Turkeys from Wisconsin and Minnesota had both a statistically higher prevalence and mean intensity of H. meleagridis than birds from Missouri. Evidence indicates that P. kempi has been introduced into other states along with the vertebrate hosts. It is suggested that greater care should be exercised when translocated wild turkeys are introduced into areas where there are other endangered or threatened avian species.
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Vol. 26 • No. 2