Because of limited access to the endangered Attwater's prairie chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri), we used a related species, the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus), as a surrogate for disease evaluation. Free-living northern bobwhites (n = 62) on the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (near Eagle Lake, Texas, USA) were examined during spring and fall 1993 for helminthic endoparasites and specific antibodies against the infectious agents responsible for nine infectious diseases. Trichostrongylus cramae, Raillietina sp., and Strongyloides avium were collected from 97, 44, and 32% of northern bobwhites examined, respectively. Dispharynx nasuta and Syngamus trachea also were found. No gross lesions due to parasites were observed. Specific antibody to Pasteurella multocida was found in 3 of 53 plasma samples. It is possible that potentially pathogenic species such as P. multocida, T. cramae, and D. nasuta could threaten sympatric Attwater's prairie chickens.
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Vol. 34 • No. 2