Abstract

The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is native to Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, and is a regular winter migrant in Uruguayan and Brazilian coastal waters. The species is known to be susceptible to a variety of gastrointestinal nematodes, cestodes, trematodes, and acanthocephalans, as well as renal trematodes and pulmonary nematodes. Schistosomes (Platyhelminthes, Trematoda, Schistosomatidae) and microfilariae (Nematoda, Secernentea, Onchocercidae) were histologically identified in Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) that died while under care at rehabilitation centers in southern Brazil. Phylogenetic analysis of the COI gene, ITS-1 region, 5.8S rRNA gene, ITS-2 region, and 28S rRNA gene sequences of the schistosome revealed that it is closely related to, but distinct from, a schistosome reported from the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus). The schistosomes from Magellanic and African Penguins were grouped with Gigantobilharzia huronensis, Gigantobilharzia melanoidis, and Dendritobilharzia pulvurenta; however, the lack of a clearly monophyletic origin precludes determining their genus. The incidental discovery of novel parasites during a study that did not specifically aim to investigate the occurrence of helminths underscores the value of histopathological examination as an exploratory diagnostic approach.

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