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Serum samples from 8 species of migratory
birds (Ardea cinerea, Plegadis falcinellus, Anas querquedula, Anser albifrons,
Gavia arctica, Fulica atra, Phalacrocorax carbo, Larus minutus) were tested
for the presence of hemagglutination-inhibiting (HAI) antibodies to alpha-
and flaviviruses. HAI antibodies to alphaviruses (eastern equine encephalitis,
western equine encephalitis, Sindbis, Middelburg, Semliki Forest) ranging
in titer from 1/20 to 1/160 were detected in 46 serum samples; 22 serum
samples gave positive reactions (titers: 1/20 - 1/80) to flaviviruses (West
Nile, Ntaya). In certain cases antibodies to several antigens could be
made evident in the same serum sample. The serological results are discussed
in the light of the birds' migration pattern.
Pterodects ralliculae sp. n. (Proctophyllodidae, Pterodectinae) is described from Rallicula f. forbesi (Rallidae) from Papua New Guinea. This is the first record of a proctophylloid species from Gruiformes.
The filarioid nematode Pelecitus fulicaeatrae (Diesing, 1861) is considered cold-hardy. Adults and microfilariae became motile when placed in saline at 22 C after having been removed from thawed carcasses of their host, the American coot (Fulica americana Gmelin) (Aves: Gruiformes). Adult nematodes from 5 of 12 carcasses became active as did microfilariae from 4 of 5 carcasses. Carcasses had been frozen at an undetermined temperature below 0 C for an initial 14 days and then at -21 to -24 for 100-159 days.
A total of 316 anatids (5 species) from Serendip Wildlife Research Station, Lara, Victoria, were examined for blood parasites. Twenty-two of the ducks (all five species) harbored Haemoproteus nettionis and one also harbored Plasmodium relictum. None of 12 dusky moorhens (Gallinula tenebrosa) were infected. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of H. nettionis between species or age groups of ducks. No evidence of infection with Leucocytozoon, Trypanosoma or microfilaria was obtained.
Haemoproteus gallinulae and H. porzanae of Rallidae, taxonomic review, redescriptions; literature review of unspecified haemoproteids in Rallidae.
Histochemical localization of delta5-3beta-hydroxysteroid
dehydrogenase (delta5-3beta-HSDH), 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase
(17beta-HSDH), 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11beta-HSDH) and glucose-6-phosphate
dehydrogenase (G-6-PDH) have been studied in the kidney of white-breasted
water hen, Amaurornis phoenicurus chinensis. All these enzyme activities
occurred in the proximal and distal convoluted and collecting tubules,
however, the intensity of these enzyme activities was more in the proximal
convoluted tubules. It is suggested that these enzymes might have a role
in converting certain hydroxysteroids to ketosteroids during steroid excretion.
The presence of 5-3deltabeta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, IIbeta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase has been demonstrated histochemically in the adrenal gland of the rain quail Coturnix coromendalica, barn owl Tyto alba, brown crake Amaurornis akool and painted partidge Francholinus pictus. All these enzymes occurred in the inter-renal cells. No activity was observed in the chromaffin cells. It is suggested that the inter-renal cells of these four species of birds are capable of synthesizing both corticosteroids and sex steroids.
An American coot (Fulica americana)
was found dead within the enclosed research compound of the South Central
Poultry Research Laboratory at Mississippi State, Mississippi. Gross and
microscopic examinations revealed the bird to be in good body condition;
however, blood from the beak cavity and external nares was present. Biliary
congestion, hemopericardium, blood-filled air sacs, and a ruptured, ascending
aorta were also noted. Nineteen trematodes (Cyclocoelum mutabile) were
found within the body cavity at necropsy. Bacteriological examination revealed
the presence of Escherichia coli in both the heart and liver and Pseudomonas
putida in the liver only. No virus was isolated.
In birds of the order Ralliformes inhabiting
the southwestern part of the Caspian Sea there were found four species
of mites of the family Rhinonyssidae, parasites of the nasal cavity: Sternostoma
fulicae Fain et Bafort and Rallinyssus caudistigmus Strandtmann in Fulica
atra L., R. caspicus sp. n. in Gallinula chloropus (L.), R. gallinulae
Fain in porphyrio polyocephalus (Lath.).
Blood gases, air cell-blood gas differences,
blood pH, and hematology were compared in embryonic coots (Fulica americana
peruviana) at 4150 m and sea level in Peru. Neither arterialized nor venous
O2 tensions differed significantly between montane and lowland groups but
blood CO2 tensions of the two groups differed significantly. The air cell
PO2-arterialized blood PO2 difference of montane eggs was less than half
the value in lowland eggs. Both arterialized and venous CO2 tensions differed
substantially between montane and lowland groups. Despite these differences,
plasma pH at both altitudes was statistically indistinguishable, due in
part to variation in plasma [HCO3-]. Hematocrits of montane embryos were
significantly higher than that of their lowland counterparts.
Concentrations of heavy metals (zinc,
copper, cadmium, and iron) were measured in several tissues (brain, gizzard,
leg-muscle, heart, breast-muscle, intestine, liver and kidney) of moorhens
(Gallinula chloropus), black-headed gulls (Larus ridibundus), and coots
(Fulica atra) collected between autumn 1985 and spring 1989 in northern
Italy. Cadmium concentrations in the liver and kidney of water-rails (Rallus
aquaticus) and in five species of Anatidae collected also were measured.
High mean (+/- SD) copper levels were detected in aerobic muscles such
as heart (38 +/- 5 micrograms/g dry weight (DW)) and pectoral muscles (35
+/- 7 micrograms/g DW). Compared to other tissues, the iron content of
brain was rather low and constant, with a mean value of 160 +/- 17 micrograms/g
DW in moorhens, 157 +/- 60 micrograms/g DW in black-headed gulls, and 157
+/- 25 micrograms/g DW in coots. Iron concentrations in tissues of moorhens
from the Reno River were significantly higher than those from the Sile
River. Cadmium was detectable only in the liver and kidney; there was a
linear relationship between cadmium levels in these two organs. The highest
mean (+/- SD) cadmium concentrations were present in the kidney of black-
headed gull (30 +/- 20 micrograms/g DW).
We tested the hypothesis that wildfowl activities can influence the risk of avian cholera (Pasteurella multocida infection) for susceptible birds at Centerville, Humboldt County, California (USA). Avian cholera mortality characteristics from past epizootics were correlated with variations in flock size, habitat use and 11 feeding and nonfeeding behaviors among six empirically defined groups of wildfowl: American coots (Fulica americana), tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus), American wigeon (Anas americana), northern pintails (A. acuta), northern shovelers (A. clypeata)/mallards (A. platyrhynchos), and teal (A. discors, A. crecca, A. cyanoptera). The position of these wildfowl groups in past mortality sequences was directly correlated with mean flock size, time spent on land, and time spent grazing on land or in shallow water. We propose that variations in bird density, habitat use and frequency of grazing may serve as predisposing factors to avian cholera among wildfowl.
Capillaria philippinensis larvae from
fish and adult and larval forms of the parasite from gerbil intestines
established parent infections when given a stomach tube to several species
of birds from Taiwan. Adult males, oviparous and larviparous females and
larval stages were found in Nycticorax nycticorax, Bubulcus ibis, Ixobrychus
sinensis, Gallinula chloropus and Amaurornis phoenicurus. C. philippinensis
also developed in pigeons, Rostratula benghalensis, a few Anas spp. and
chickens. Some birds died of the infection while others recovered; most
could not be re-infected after repeated exposure. Autoinfection also occurred
in most birds. Eggs from an egret hatched and the larvae developed in fish
intestines. This is the first group of animals indigenous to the endemic
area that could be infected with C. philippinensis and although no naturally
infected birds have been found in the area, fish-eating birds should be
suspected as potential reservoir hosts. A fish-bird life-cycle is thought
to be occurring throughout Asia but intestinal capillariasis is reported
only in areas where the human population eats raw freshwater fish.
Four cases of malignant neoplasia in
captive wild birds are described: an adenocarcinoma of the adrenal gland
in a Mountain duck (Tadorna tadornoides), a malignant melanoma in the thoracic
cavity of a Combed duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos), a hepatocellular carcinoma
with pulmonary metastasis in an Asian Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio),
and an undifferentiated carcinoma in the abdomen with metastasis to skeletal
muscle in a White-Breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus). The tumors
were diagnosed during a 1-year period and represented an incidence of neoplasia
of 3.1%. These appear to be the first documented cases of a malignant adrenal
gland tumor and a non-ocular melanoma in the order Anseriformes. The hepatocellular
carcinoma failed to react with an immunoperoxidase stain for alphafetoprotein.
Data are reported on the presence of
antibodies to some group A(alphavirus) B(flavivirus) arboviruses in 8 species
of migratory birds (Ardea cinerea, Plegadis falcinellus, Anas querquedula,
Anser albifrons, Gavia arctica, Fulica atra, Larus minutes and and Phalacrocorax
corbo) of the Danube Delta.
Type C botulism was determined to be
the cause of an epizootic among waterfowl and shorebirds in a phosphate
mine settling pond in northern Florida during May and June of 1979. Several
hundred birds, the most common of which were American coots (Fulica americana),
wood ducks (Aix sponsa), common gallinules (Gallinula chloropus), and northern
shovelers (Anas clypeata), were afflicted over about a three-week period.
A second smaller outbreak occurred in the same pond in early December of
1979. This is apparently the first time that botulism has been reported
in waterbirds of Florida.
Bacteria of the genus Campylobacter were isolated from 28 Rooks (Corvus frugilegus), 1 Red Kite (Milvus milvus), 1 Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), 1 Coot (Fulica atra), 1 Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) and 1 Northern Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). Altogether, C. jejuni biovar 1, was isolated 19x, C. jejuni biovar 2 8x and C. coli 5x. Among C. jejuni biovar 1 and 2 there were 5 isolates tolerating a content of 1.5% NaCl in the medium. H2S proof of 3 C. jejuni biovar 2 and 1 C. coli isolates resulted positive or negative dependent on incubation time of the used bacterial inoculum. Concerning Rooks the findings indicate that nestlings are more often infected with campylobacters than older birds. Only 1 campylobacter isolate could be recovered from altogether 54 birds of prey although 16 Buzzards (Buteo buteo) were investigated as nestlings.
Cloacal swabs, collected from 756 wild
synanthropic and exoanthropic birds of 57 species in the Czech Republic,
yielded 32 strains of Salmonella typhimurium [phage types (PT) 141, 104
and 41], six isolates of S. enteritidis (PT 8, 4 and 6e), and one each
of S. panama and S. anatum. Except for one S. enteritidis isolate from
a grey-lag goose (Anser anser) and one S. typhimurium isolate from a coot
(Fulica atra), all of the other strains were derived from black-headed
gulls (Larus ridibundus), of which 24.7% were found to be infected. The
black-headed gull might play a role in the dispersal of pathogenic salmonellae.
A retrospective study was conducted
to evaluate disease patterns in birds at the Detroit Zoo from 1973 through
1983. Data were derived from the zoo's medical and animal census records;
the mean (+/- SD) population of birds during the study period was 469 +/-
42. Overall annual morbidity rates were 12.5% to 21.5%, with spring months
having the highest morbidity rates. Annual mortality rates were 3.1% to
15.2%; 23.9% of the deaths were caused by microbial agents (particularly
Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, hemolytic Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp,
Aeromonas spp and Proteus spp), 15.4% by trauma, and 42.5% by nondetermined
causes. The mute swan (Cygnus olor), mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos),
common gallinule (Gallinula chloropus), common rhea (Rhea americana), and
red-billed hornbill (Tockus erythrorhynchus) were the 5 species most frequently
affected of the 1,032 deaths from 1973 through 1983. The most frequently
isolated parasites were Microtetramere spp, coccidian species, Diplotriaena
spp, and Trichomonia spp.
Organochlorine residues and shell thicknesses
were surveyed in eggs of the clapper rail (Rallus longirostris), purple
gallinule (Porphyrula martinica), common gallinule (Gallinula chloropas),
and limpkin (Aramus guarauna) from the eastern and southern United States.
Clapper rail eggs were collected during 1972-73 in New Jersey, Virginia,
and South Carolina. During 1973-74, gallinule eggs were collected in Florida,
South Carolina, and Louisiana, and limpkin eggs were collected in Florida.
Egg contents were analyzed for residues of organochlorine pesticides, including
DDT, TDE, DDE, dieldrin, mirex, heptachlor epoxide, oxychlordane, cis-chlordane
(and/or trans-nonachlor), cis-nonachlor, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), toxaphene,
and endrin, and for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Shell thicknesses
of recent eggs of these species were compared with archival eggs that had
been collected before 1947. With the exception of the limpkin, the majority
of eggs analyzed contained residues of p,p'-DDE and PCBs. Geometric means
ranged from 0.10 ppm to 1.3 ppm. Small amounts (less than 1.0 ppm) of mirex,
dieldrin, cis-chlordane (and/or trans-nonachlor), TDE, and DDT were detected
in a few eggs. No evidence of eggshell thinning was found for any of the
species studied. DDE residues in clapper rail eggs were higher in New Jersey
and Virginia than in South Carolina.
Oocysts of Eimeria porphyrulae n.sp.
are described in faeces of Porphyrula martinica (Aves: Gruiformes: Rallidae).
They are ellipsoidal to oval, 22.4 x 17.7 (20.0-23.7 x 16.2-18.7) microns,
shape-index (length/width) 1.3. Oocyst wall about 1.25 microns thick, colourless,
with two layers: inner one prominently striated. Micropyle and sub-micropylar
granule present: no oocyst residuum. Sporocysts 17.5 x 9.0 (17.0-19.0 x
8.0-10.0) microns, shape-index 1.9, with inconspicuous Stieda/sub-Stieda
bodies. Sporocyst residuum of scattered granules, sometimes a compact mass:
sporozoites with two refractile bodies. Eimeria crypturelli n.sp. is described
in faeces of Crypturellus soui (Tinamiformes: Tinamidae). Oocysts ellipsoidal-oval,
20.75 x 14.5 (17.5-25.0 x 11.25-21.25) microns, shape-index 1.4. Oocyst
wall about 1.25 microns thick and bi-layered: inner layer faintly striated.
Micropyle present, with oocyst residuum immediately below: single polar
body rarely present. Sporocysts 13.0 x 7.5 (12.5-13.75 x 7.5-8.1) microns,
shape-index 1.7, with a Stieda body but seemingly no sub-Stieda. Sporocyst
residuum compact: sporozoites with two refractile bodies. Isospora cacici
n.sp. is recorded from faeces of Cacicus cela cela (Passeriformes: Icteridae).
Oocysts subspherical-spherical, 26.5 x 23.7 (22.5-27.5 x 20.0-26.2) microns,
shape-index 1.1. Wall a single, colourless layer about 1.5 microns thick.
No micropyle or oocyst residuum: 1-2 polar bodies. Sporocysts ellipsoidal,
17.7 x 12.5 (17.5-18.75 x 11.25-13.75) microns, shape-index 1.4, with pronounced
Stieda/sub-Stieda bodies: residuum compact and sporozoites with two refractile
bodies. Isospora thraupis n.sp. is described from faeces of Thraupis palmarum
melanoptera (Passeriformes: Thraupidae).
In behavioral and ecological studies the "function" of dominance hierarchies is thought to be related to reproductive success. In particular, dominant males are regarded as likely to gain a reproductive advantage due to enhanced "access" to females. We compare the dominance status of adults with the frequency of copulations and the patterns of parentage in communally breeding pukeko or purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus). This avian species has an unusual social system, often breeding in polygynandrous groups in which there is a strong dominance hierarchy. Typically, during the breeding season, there is considerable sexual activity, with heterosexual and homosexual copulations between adults being commonplace. Hae III-digested DNA from individuals belonging to breeding groups was hybridized to the minisatellite DNA probe YNH24, revealing putative single-locus profiles, while hybridization of the same DNA to the minisatellite probes pV47-2, 3'HVR, and per revealed typical multilocus profiles. The numbers of unattributable restriction fragments allowed the maternity and paternity of all individuals to be conclusively determined, despite high levels of band sharing among individuals within breeding groups. These close genetic similarities are a likely consequence of strong philopatry and inbreeding. We report instances of males which are high on the dominance hierarchy but have only a limited reproductive output in comparison with others and males which are subordinate but achieve a significant proportion of fertilizations. Generally these data reveal no consistent relationship between dominance, the frequency of copulations, and parentage among males. We conclude that pukeko highlight some difficulties with conventional explanations for the "function" of dominance.
Capillarity, fibre types, fibre area and enzyme activities of different skeletal muscles (pectoralis, extensor digitorum longus), tibialis anterior, plantaris and the myocardium) were compared in Andean coot (Fulica americana peruviana) native to high altitude (Junin, Peru, 4200 m) and the same species nesting at sea level. Numbers of capillaries per square millimeter were higher in all high-altitude muscles when compared with sea-level muscles (P < 0.0001). Moreover, values for capillaries per fibre and capillaries in contact with each fibre were higher in digitorum and tibialis high-altitude muscles. Muscle fibres were classified as Type I, Type IIA or Type IIB on the basis of their myofibrillar ATPase pH lability. Pectoralis muscle of high-altitude and sea-level coots presented only fibres of Type IIA. In contrast, all the leg muscles studied showed a mosaic pattern of the three fibre types. Fibre areas were determined using a Leitz Texture Analysis System. Significant differences in fibre area were observed (P < 0.01) between high-altitude and sea-level muscles. Mean muscle fibre diameters were also lower in the high-altitude group than in the sea-level group. The enzyme activities studied were hexokinase, lactate dehydrogenase, citrate synthase and 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA-dehydrogenase. The oxidative capacity, as reflected by citrate synthetase and hydroxyacyl-CoA-dehydrogenase activities, was greater for myocardial and pectoralis than for leg muscles. However, analysis of maximal enzyme activities showed that there were no significant differences between the glycolytic and oxidative enzyme activities of high-altitude and sea-level coots.
Two hemagglutinating (HA) agents were isolated from coots (Fulica atra). One of them was isolated from a brain specimen, the specimens being taken from 8 dead birds. The other one was isolated from a tracheal swab, the tracheal and cloacal swabs being taken from 47 apparently healthy birds. Both the agents were identified as Yucaipa-like avian paramyxoviruses (PMV-2) by means of HA inhibition (HI) and neuraminidase (Nase) inhibition (NI) tests. This is the third species of feral birds and the second species of migrating waterfowl in Israel from which Yucaipa-like viruses were isolated.
Between November and December 1988, fecal and intestinal contents were collected from 25 northern American coots, Fulica americana americana, in Arkansas and Texas, and examined for coccidial parasites. Seventeen (68%) of the coots were infected with Eimeria paludosa, herein described; for the first time, photomicrographs of the species are presented. Sporulated oocysts are ovoid, 16.5 x 12.6 (15-23 x 11-14) microns, with a lightly to heavily pitted single-layered wall; an oocyst residuum is absent, but a prominent micropyle is present. A large, or several smaller, polar granule(s) is present, usually located beneath the micropyle. Sporocysts are elongate-ovoid, 10.8 x 6.2 (10-12 x 5-7) microns, with Stieda and substieda bodies. A sporocyst residuum is present, normally composed of very fine faint granules scattered among the sporozoites or, rarely, as a spherical mass. Sporozoites are elongate, 8.7 x 2.7 (7-11 x 2-3) microns, in situ. Each sporozoite contains a spherical-ellipsoid posterior refractile body and occasionally a spherical anterior refractile body. A nucleus is located immediately anterior to the posterior refractile body. The occurrence of E. paludosa in F. a. americana is a new host and geographic record for the parasite. In addition, several of the previously described eimerian species from gruiform birds are proposed to be synonyms of E. paludosa.
An avian cholera (Pasteurella multocida) epizootic was observed among wildfowl at the Centerville Gun Club, Humboldt County, California (USA) in January 1978. Compared to their live populations and use of the area, coots (Fulica americana) died in proportionately greater numbers than any other species. Coots collected by gunshot were evaluated for sex and age composition, and morphometry from November 1977 through mid-January 1978 at this site. There was no substantial difference in the sex, age or morphometry between birds dying of avian cholera and from those dying from gunshot. Assuming coots dying of gunshot are representative of the general population, it appears there was little selection among coots by P. multocida. There was evidence for a sequential mortality similar to that reported previously at this site: coots were the first birds to die, followed by American wigeon (Anas americana) and northern pintails (A. acuta acuta); northern shovelers (A. clypeata) and mallards (A. platyrhynchos) died late in the epizootic.
A central biological parameter in the study of any animal population is the accurate assignment of sex. Indeed any ecological study of a population requires information on sex composition in relation to such biological factors as behaviour, movement, mortality and birth rate. However, our ability to assign the sex of adults of many avian species is poor and the sexing of young is universally difficult. We report here the successful application of a molecular technique for the assignment of sex in the communally breeding pukeko or purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus). W- and Z-linked chromosome fragments in digested genomic DNA of pukeko were detected with the DNA probe pMg1. We consequently show that this species breeds in polyandrous, polygynous and polygynandrous groups. Finally we discuss why recent molecular methods represent important new tools in ecology.
Numbers of light-footed clapper rails Rallus longirostris levipes, an endangered bird inhabiting southern California salt marshes, have substantially declined from historic levels. RAPD (randomly amplified polymorphic DNA) analysis was employed to assess the genetic variability within and among four of the largest remaining light-footed clapper rail populations. A single, larger population of the endangered Yuma clapper rail Rallus longirostris yumanensis was used for comparison. A total of 325 RAPD primers were tested on DNA from a subset of five clapper rails composed of a single representative for each of the four light-footed clapper rail populations and a representative for the single Yuma clapper rail population. Of the 1338 amplified bands (loci) surveyed in these five representative birds, approximately 1% were polymorphic, indicating the level of differentiation across all loci is quite low. Nine primers yielding these 16 polymorphic bands were used to analyse 48 individuals from five populations. Five of these bands were polymorphic in both subspecies, six were polymorphic only within the light-footed clapper rails, and five were polymorphic only within the Yuma clapper rail samples. Considering the few bands that were polymorphic among the light-footed clapper rail populations, a surprisingly high level of population differentiation (GST = 0.28) was found. This is in accord with the results of AMOVA analyses which show that a fairly high percentage of the limited variability among the rails is due to either differences between subspecies or differences between the light-footed rail populations. Because inbreeding depression is suspected and overall genetic distances between populations are low, movement of light-footed clapper rails from larger populations into smaller ones might be considered as a management strategy. Employing RAPDs as one of a series of assays is useful in revealing the population structure of genetically depauperate species.
A total of 844 birds were observed dead at three sites in Humboldt County and an estimated 6750 birds died at three sites in Del Norte County, California. Coots were the primary species affected. The isolation of Pasteurella multocida from a snowy egret (Egretta thula) is the first reported case of avian cholera in this bird. There was evidence for a distinct sequence in the bird species dying at one site; American coots (Fulica americana) appeared to be the first species to die.
This study was conducted to determine selenium (Se) concentrations in tissues of birds collected during the 1983-1985 nesting seasons at Kesterson Reservoir (an area receiving high-Se irrigation drainage water), compare them with birds from reference sites within California's Central Valley, and relate them to food-chain Se concentrations at the study sites. Within years, Se in livers of adult birds collected early and late in the nesting season changed significantly at both Kesterson and the primary reference site (Volta Wildlife Area). These changes were related to the length of time birds had been present at the study sites and the associated accumulation (at Kesterson) or depuration (at Volta) of Se. All species showed significant location differences, which were greatest in species that occurred at Kesterson throughout the year or fed more consistently within the reservoir. There were few species differences in Se for birds at the reference sites (where food-chain Se levels were "normal" [less than or equal to 2 micrograms/g, dry wt]). At Kesterson (where bird foods generally contained greater than 50 micrograms Se/g), species patterns varied by year, probably because of varying periods of residence and other factors. Se concentrations in kidneys and livers of American coots (Fulica americana) were significantly correlated (r = 0.9845); Se concentrations in breast muscles and livers of juvenile ducks (Anas spp.) also were correlated (r = 0.8280). Body weights of adult coots were negatively correlated with liver Se concentration. Late-season resident breeding birds or pre-fledging juvenile birds reared at a site usually provided the best indication of site-specific Se bioaccumulation.
Rallinyssus sorae sp. n. is described from the nasal turbinates of the sora, Porzana carolina, collected in Maryland and Ohio. The new species is most similar to Rallinyssus verheyeni Fain but differs in number of setae on the female ventral opisthosoma, structure of the fixed and movable digits of the male and female chelicerae, chaetotaxy of legs I to IV, and presence of a sternal plate in the male. The taxonomy and host-parasite relationships of the various species of Rallinyssus are discussed.
Serum samples from 15 species of rodents and 33 species of birds were tested for agglutinins against Coxiella burnetii by the microagglutination test. Of 759 rodents tested, 21 (3%) were seropositive. Antibody positive rodents included muskrats, Ondatra zebethica, (11%), Rattus spp. (10%), Beechey ground squirrels, Otospermophilus beecheyi, (6%), wood rats, Neotoma fuscipes, (5%), and Peromyscus spp. (2%). Of 583 birds tested, 118 (20%) were seropositive. This included white crowned sparrows, Zonotrichia leucophrys, gold crowned sparrows, Z. atricapilla, and English sparrows, Passer domesticus, (68% in the composite); coots, Fulica americana, (29%); blackbirds, Euphagus cyanocephalus, (33%); crows, Corvus brachyrhyncos, (29%); robins, Turdus migratorius, (16%); pigeons, Columba fasciata, (10%); and mallard ducks, Anas platyrhynchos, (7%). There was a tendency for the seropositive animals to have been collected in the vicinity of endemically infected livestock.
Nest site characteristics associated with flood and predator avoidance were compared for four nonpasserine species of marsh-nesting birds: clapper rails, willets, laughing gulls, and common terns. Species with short nests, willets and terns, minimized flood damage by nesting on higher ground than did gulls and rails that build tall nests. Species with dispersed, cryptic nests had taller surrounding grass than did open-nesting colonial species. Total nest height was similar for species with tall nests and for terns whose short nests were elevated by placement on mats of dead Spartina grass. Willets had lower nest heights than the other species, probably because the inverse relation between grass height and ground height in the salt marsh makes it difficult for willets to find sites with high enough ground for flood avoidance while still retaining high enough grass for nest crypticity. Ground height for common terns and grass height for gulls and rails appear to be cues used in nest site selection. Nests of each species in which these characteristics were maximized were more successful in a major tidal flood. Laughing gulls and clapper rails appear to be more specialized salt marsh nesters than the other two species.
Unprecedented mortality occurred in bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) at DeGray Lake, Arkansas, during the winters of 1994-1995 and 1996-1997. The first eagles were found dead during November, soon after arrival from fall migration, and deaths continued into January during both episodes. In total, 29 eagles died at or near DeGray Lake in the winter of 1994-1995 and 26 died in the winter of 1996-1997; no eagle mortality was noted during the same months of the intervening winter or in the earlier history of the lake. During the mortality events, sick eagles were observed overflying perches or colliding with rock walls. Signs of incoordination and limb paresis were also observed in American coots (Fulica americana) during the episodes of eagle mortality, but mortality in coots was minimal. No consistent abnormalities were seen on gross necropsy of either species. No microscopic findings in organs other than the central nervous system (CNS) could explain the cause of death. By light microscopy, all 26 eagles examined and 62/77 (81%) coots had striking, diffuse, spongy degeneration of the white matter of the CNS. Vacuolation occurred in all myelinated CNS tissue, including the cerebellar folia and medulla oblongata, but was most prominent in the optic tectum. In the spinal cord, vacuoles were concentrated near the gray matter, and occasional swollen axons were seen. Vacuoles were uniformly present in optic nerves but were not evident in the retina or peripheral or autonomic nerves. Cellular inflammatory response to the lesion was distinctly lacking. Vacuoles were 8-50 microns in diameter and occurred individually, in clusters, or in rows. In sections stained by luxol fast blue/periodic acid-Schiff stain, the vacuoles were delimited and transected by myelin strands. Transmission electron microscopy revealed intramyelinic vacuoles formed in the myelin sheaths by splitting of one or more myelin lamellae at the intraperiodic line. This lesion is characteristic of toxicity from hexachlorophene, triethyltin, bromethalin, isonicotinic acid hydrazide, and certain exotic plant toxins; however, despite exhaustive testing, no etiology was determined for the DeGray Lake mortality events. This is the first report of vacuolar myelinopathy associated with spontaneous mortality in wild birds.
Six muscles of the mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos), the common coot (Fulica atra) and the yellow-legged gull (Larus cachinnans) were analysed morphometrically, with special emphasis on their functional implications and physiological needs. Oxidative fibres always had significantly smaller size than anaerobic fibres, although no differences in the number of capillaries per fibre were found. This resulted in greater capillary counts per unit of fibre area and perimeter in oxidative than anaerobic fibres, which indicates that the greater demand for oxygen supply may be achieved by decreasing the size of the muscle fibre rather than by increasing the number of associated capillaries. Fast oxidative fibres of the pectoralis and the triceps of the gull had greater sizes than the fast oxidative fibres of the mallard and the coot, which correlates with the difference in energetic demands between flapping and gliding flight. Greater fibre cross-sectional areas and perimeters seem suited to afford the long-lasting activity with low metabolic demands required during gliding. By contrast, mallards and coots attain a high oxidative metabolism, during sustained flapping flight, by reducing fibre size at the expense of a diminished ability for force generation. Between-species comparisons of the hindlimb muscles only yielded differences for the anaerobic fibres of the gastrocnemius, as an important adaptive response to force generation during burst locomotion. The need to manage sustained swimming abilities effectively may result in similar FOG fibre morphometry of the hindlimb muscles studied, indicating that a compromise between the oxygen flux to the muscle cell and the development of power is highly optimised in oxidative fibres of the bird species studied.
The phylogenetic relationships of a number of flightless and volant rails have been investigated using mtDNA sequence data. The third domain of the small ribosomal subunit (12S) has been sequenced for 22 taxa, and part of the 5' end of the cytochrome-b gene has been sequenced for 12 taxa. Additional sequences were obtained from outgroup taxa, two species of jacana, sarus crane, spur-winged plover and kagu. Extinct rails were investigated using DNA extracted from subfossil bones, and in cases where fresh material could not be obtained from other extant taxa, feathers and museum skins were used as sources of DNA. Phylogenetic trees produced from these data have topologies that are, in general, consistent with data from DNA-DNA hybridization studies and recent interpretations based on morphology. Gallinula chloropus moorhen) groups basally with Fulica (coots), Amaurornis (= Megacrex) ineptus falls within the Gallirallus/Rallus group, and Gallinula (= Porphyrula) martinica is basal to Porphyrio (swamphens) and should probably be placed in that genus. Subspecies of Porphyrio porphyrio are paraphyletic with respect to Porphyrio mantelli (takahe). The Northern Hemisphere Rallus aquaticus is basal to the south-western Pacific Rallus (or Gallirallus) group. The flightless Rallus philippensis dieffenbachii is close to Rallus modestus and distinct from the volant Rallus philippensis, and is evidently a separate species. Porzana (crakes) appears to be more closely associated with Porphyrio than Rallus. Deep relationships among the rails remain poorly resolved. Rhynochetus jubatus (kagu) is closer to the cranes than the rails in this analysis. Genetic distances between flightless rails and their volant counterparts varied considerably with observed 12S sequence distances, ranging from 0.3% (Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus and P. mantelli mantelli) to 7.6% (Rallus modestus and Rallus philippensis). This may be taken as an indication of the rapidity with which flightlessness can evolve, and of the persistence of flightless taxa. Genetic data supported the notion that flightless taxa were independently derived, sometimes from similar colonizing ancestors. The morphology of flightless rails is apparently frequently dominated by evolutionary parallelism although similarity of external appearance is not an indication of the extent of genetic divergence. In some cases taxa that are genetically close are morphologically distinct from one another (e.g. Rallus (philippensis) dieffenbachii and R. modestus), whilst some morphologically similar taxa are evidently independently derived (e.g. Porphyio mantelli hochstetteri and P.m. mantelli).
In 1959-1975, 3404 water birds of 18 species belonging to six orders were examined for the presence of cestodes. The birds came from 52 localities (ponds) in Bohemia and Moravia where domestic ducks were kept by the State Fishery and where also wild water fowl occurred. Cestodes of 31 species of the families Hymenolepididae, Dilepididae, Amabiliidae and Diploposthidae were found. The total number of examined birds included 2476 domestic ducks (1406 of them, i. e. 56.8%, were positive for cestodes) and 928 free-living water birds (873 of them, i. e. 94.1%, were 30 cestode species. Eight free-living bird species of the orders Anseriformes and Ralliformes (Anas platyrhynchos, Aythya ferina, A. fuligula, Fulica atra, Aythya nyroca, Anas crecca, A. querquedula and A. strepera) are significant for the circulation of cestodes as they harbour 16 cestode species also occurring in Anas platyrhynchos dom.
Thirteen species of trichostronglyloid nematodes have so far been recorded from wild birds and mammals in Israel and surrounding territories. Three species were found in birds: Amidostomum fulicae (Rudolphi, 1819) in Fulica atra L., 1758, A. acutum (Lundahl, 1848) in Anas crecca L., 1758 AND Amidostomum sp. in Ceryle rudis L., 1758. Ten species, 3 of which are new, were found in small mammals: Trichostrongylus colubriformis (Giles, 1892) in Hystrix indica Kerr, 1792; Tenorastrongylus josephi n. sp. in Mus musculus L., 1758; Nippostrongylus brasiliensis (Travassos, 1914) in Rattus norvegicus Berk, 1796 and Rattus rattus L., 1758; Nippostrongylus witenbergi Greenberg, 1972, in Nesokia indica Gray et Hardw., 1832; Heligmonina nevoi n. sp. in Spalax ehrenbergi, Nehring, 1898; Boreostrongylus seurati (Travassos et Darriba, 1929) in Gerbillus allenbyi Thomas, 1918, G. pyramidum Geoffrey, 1825, G. (Dipodillus) dasyurus, Meriones sacramenti Thomas, 1922 and M. tristrami Thomas, 1892; Boreostrongylus minutus (Dujardin, 1845) in Microtus guentheri Danford et Alsen, 1880; Heligmosomoides polygyrus polygyrus (Dujardin, 1845) in Apodemus mystacinus Danf. et Alst., 1877 and A. sylvaticus L., 1758; Suncinema witenbergi n. sp. in Crocidura russula Herm., 1780. Ecologic and zoogeographic relationships are discussed.
Two outbreaks of botulism in central Saskatchewan in which mortality of waterfowl continued into late autumn and then recurred in the same marshes the following spring are described. Small numbers of birds were involved in each instance. Dabbling ducks (predominantly mallards, Anas platyrhynchos and pintails, Anas acuta) and American coots, Fulica americana were affected most commonly in autumn, whereas only diving ducks (predominantly lesser scaup, Aythya affinis) were found to be involved in spring. Live maggots present in carcasses despite sub-freezing temperatures were the probable source of intoxication in the autumn; the source of toxin in the spring was not determined.