We identified and compared gross and microscopic lesions associated with the cestode, Parorchites zederi, in the digestive tracts of three species of penguins (Spheniscidae): the Chinstrap (Pygoscelis antarctica), Gentoo (Pygoscelis papua), and Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae). The gastrointestinal tracts of 79 recently dead individuals (71 chicks and eight adults) were collected in locations throughout the Antarctic Peninsula during summer field trips in 2006–09. Parorchites zederi was found in the small intestine of 37 animals (47%), and 23 (62%) of these had parasite-associated lesions. The cestodes were either free in the intestinal lumen, clustered within mucosal ulcers, or deeply embedded in the intestinal wall. Histopathologic changes were most severe in adult Gentoo Penguins and included transmural fibrogranulomatous enteritis, hemorrhage, and edema. This report of pathology associated with P. zederi in the digestive tracts of penguins can serve as reference to monitor health in Antarctic birds associated with environmental changes.
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Vol. 52 • No. 3