Numerous nematode cysts were observed throughout the mesentery and on the surface of gastrointestinal organs in a whooping crane (Grus americana) that was found dead in a central Florida marsh. Morphology of the excysted nematodes most closely resembled third-stage larvae in the order Spirurida but were not similar to any species previously reported in whooping cranes. Evidence presented suggests that the larvae may be Physocephalus sexalatus, a swine spirurid in the subfamily Ascaropsinae that is commonly found encapsulated in birds, amphibians, and reptiles. We suspect that the whooping crane may potentially serve as a transport host for this parasite.
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Vol. 32 • No. 4