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1 October 2017 Mass Mortality Attributed to Acanthocephaliasis at a Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) Colony in Coastal California, USA
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Abstract
From 12 May 2013 to 29 May 2013, the Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) colony at the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge, California, US, experienced a mass die-off of at least 92 adults, representing 71–92% of the breeding population on the US west coast. Cause of death was determined to be peritonitis due to perforations of the intestine by a large quantity of acanthocephala (Profilicollis [=Polymorphus] altmani). This is a unique report of P. altmani infecting G. nilotica, and a report of a great impact to a tern population in southern California. Mole crabs (Emerita analoga), the intermediate host for P. altmani and a major component of the Gull-billed Tern diet in San Diego, were found in the stomachs of necropsied terns along with cystacanths, and are the presumed source of the parasite infection. The tern's dietary reliance upon mole crabs likely amplified parasite transmission and infection. We suggest additional research to determine factors that influence parasite infection of intermediate and definitive hosts, particularly mole crabs, given that they are a vital resource for migrating birds within the coastal zone.
© Wildlife Disease Association 2017
Robert T. Patton, Katharine S. Goodenough, Susan E. W. De La Cruz,, Hannahrose Nevins,, Rebecca Cole,, Barbara Bodenstein,, Valerie Shearn-Bochsler,, Brian Collins,, Jessie Beck,, Matthew Sadowski, and John Y. Takekawa "Mass Mortality Attributed to Acanthocephaliasis at a Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica) Colony in Coastal California, USA," Journal of Wildlife Diseases 53(4), (1 October 2017). https://doi.org/10.7589/2016-11-258
Received: 15 November 2016; Accepted: 1 March 2017; Published: 1 October 2017
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