Eight common eider (Somateria mollissima) ducklings were experimentally infected from 1 June through 13 June, 1995 with acanthocephalans (Polymorphus minutus) by allowing the birds to feed on Gammarus spp. (Gammarus oceanicus, G. salinus, G. zaddachi, and G. lacustris) containing acanthocephalan cystacanths. Uninfected Gammarus spp. were fed to a control group of seven ducklings. No mortality of ducklings occurred during the experiment. However, the infected ducklings gained weight more slowly than the control birds. After the 2 wk study period, the mean serum concentrations of total protein, albumin, β-globulin, γ-globulin, fructosamine and creatine kinase were lower in the infected group than in the controls. The mean (±SE) number of acanthocephalans in the intestine of the infected ducklings was 21 (±4). The parasites were attached to the mucosa of the posterior small intestine of the infected ducklings with a mixed inflammatory reaction consisting of heterophils and mononuclear lymphocytes surrounding the attachment sites.
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Vol. 35 • No. 3