Poster Presentation 64th International Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association 2015

Avioserpens in North American Aechmophorus occidentalis (Western Grebe): A new host and geographic record for a dracunculoid nematode and implications of migration and climate change (#153)

Patricia J Latas 1 , Heather D Stockdale Walden 2 , Lisa Bates 1 , Summer Marshall 1 , Tammy Rohr 1 , LouRae Whitehead 1
  1. Tucson Wildlife Center, Tucson, AZ, United States
  2. Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Gainesville , FL, USA

Avioserpens is a dracunculoid nematode common in domestic ducks in Taiwan. Dracunculoid worms are rarely recorded in North American bird species. This is a report of Avioserpens sp. in Aechmophorus occidentalis (Western Grebe) from southern Arizona, a bird species of rare occurrence in the Sonoran Desert of the southwestern United States. The bird was submitted to the Tucson Wildlife Center (TWC) for examination and treatment of crash-landing trauma, and was subsequently found to harbor dracunculoid nematodes. The worms were collected, identified, and a treatment plan outlined prior to release. This is the first record of Avioserpens from a Western Grebe, and the first record of the parasite in the desert southwest of the USA. Its discovery underlines the importance of veterinary involvement in diagnostics, intervention, and parasite identification in the wildlife rehabilitation setting. The implications of climate change, alterations in migratory patterns, and the possibilities for migratory spread of unusual parasites are discussed.