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Do blood parasites infect Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) in the wild? Prospective investigation and climatogeographic considerations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 January 2017

RALPH ERIC THIJL VANSTREELS
Affiliation:
Laboratório de Patologia Comparada de Animais Selvagens, Departamento de Patologia, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Prof. Dr. Orlando Marques de Paiva 87, São Paulo, SP 05508-270, Brazil
MARCELA UHART
Affiliation:
Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis. One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Amenabar 1595, Ciudad de Buenos Aires C1426AKC, Argentina
VIRGINIA RAGO
Affiliation:
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Amenabar 1595, Ciudad de Buenos Aires C1426AKC, Argentina Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). Av. Rivadavia 1917, Ciudad de Buenos Aires C1033AAJ, Argentina
RENATA HURTADO
Affiliation:
Institute of Research and Rehabilitation of Marine Animals (IPRAM). Rodovia BR-262 Km 0, Cariacica, ES 29140-130, Brazil
SABRINA EPIPHANIO
Affiliation:
Laboratório de Imunopatologia Celular e Molecular da Malária, Departamento de Análises Clínicas e Toxicológicas, Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas, Universidade de São Paulo. Avenida Prof. Lineu Prestes 580, Cidade Universitária, São Paulo, SP 05508-000, Brazil
JOSÉ LUIZ CATÃO-DIAS
Affiliation:
Laboratório de Patologia Comparada de Animais Selvagens, Departamento de Patologia, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida Prof. Dr. Orlando Marques de Paiva 87, São Paulo, SP 05508-270, Brazil
Corresponding

Summary

Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) are native to Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. Magellanic penguins are highly susceptible to blood parasites such as the mosquito-borne Plasmodium spp., which have been documented causing high morbidity and mortality in zoos and rehabilitation centres. However, to date no blood parasites have been detected in wild Magellanic penguins, and it is not clear whether this is reflective of their true absence or is instead related to an insufficiency in sampling effort or a failure of the diagnostic methods. We examined blood smears of 284 Magellanic penguins from the Argentinean coast and tested their blood samples with nested polymerase chain reaction tests targeting Haemoproteus, Plasmodium, Leucocytozoon and Babesia. No blood parasites were detected. Analysing the sampling effort of previous studies and the climatogeography of the region, we found there is strong basis to conclude that haemosporidians do not infect wild Magellanic penguins on the Argentinean coast. However, at present it is not possible to determine whether such parasites occur on the Chilean coast and at the Falkland Islands. Furthermore, it is troubling that the northward distribution expansion of Magellanic penguins and the poleward distribution shift of vectors may lead to novel opportunities for the transmission of blood parasites.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 

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Do blood parasites infect Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) in the wild? Prospective investigation and climatogeographic considerations
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