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Wednesday, January 27 • 10:40am - 11:00am
Determinants of Gut Helminth Composition In Two Species of Co-Migrating Light Geese

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AUTHORS: Evan Boone*, Eastern Illinois University; Scott Meiners, Eastern Illinois University; Jeffrey Laursen, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Parasite burdens in light geese Chen caerulescens caerulescens and Chen rossii were documented to compare to historic infection levels in light of burgeoning host populations and recent sympatry during migration in response to land use changes. The digestive tracts of 48 light geese (38 lesser snow geese and 10 Ross’ geese) were collected from 4 February to 3 March, 2012, during spring migration. Eight helminth taxa, including four species of Nematoda (Amidostomum sp., Epomidiostomum sp., Heterakis dispar, Trichostrongylus tenuis), two species of Trematoda (Echinostoma revolutum, Zygocotyle lunata) and two species of Cestoda (Cestoda sp. A, Cestoda sp. B) were recovered. Five of the eight helminth taxa were common in both species of host, while Cestoda sp. B, Z. lunata, and E. revolutum were only found in lesser snow geese. Host species and age showed significant effects on transformed parasite abundances, whereas host sex showed no effect. The prevalence of H. dispar was higher in adults than juveniles for both species. Prevalence and mean intensity of T. tenuis was higher in Ross’ geese than lesser snow geese and mean intensity was higher in juvenile than adult Ross’ geese. Nematodes using a direct life cycle dominated assemblages, with prevalences ranging from 22 to 100%. Trematodes using an indirect life cycle were relatively rare, with prevalence less than 10%. Patterns generally followed historic data, but infection levels in this study were lower than previous reports from wintering or breeding ground surveys. Co-migrating Ross’ and lesser snow geese share similar parasite assemblages. It is likely that transmission route (direct vs. indirect), influenced exposure rates and host susceptibility or immunological status play significant roles in determining parasite burdens in migrating birds.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
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Attendees (5)