Abstract

Like many shorebirds, purple sandpipers (Calidris maritima [Brünnich] Charadriiformes: Scolopacidae) have experienced population declines in recent years, but causes of these declines have not been established. As part of a larger study to identify causes of these declines, we collected and examined 25 purple sandpipers in coastal Nova Scotia, Canada during March 2013. In the course of dissections to collect tissue samples, we detected a cluster of trematodes in the air sac of 1 bird that were subsequently identified as cyclocoelids belonging to the genus Morishitium Witenberg, 1928, which we believe is the first report of this genus of parasites in this host. Cyclocoelids have been reported from other scolopacids and other shorebird families, but we are unaware of reports of serious pathology arising from these trematodes. Given this and the low prevalence (4%) in our sample, our data cannot ascribe declines in purple sandpiper populations to these trematodes, but our sample is limited both spatially and temporally.

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