ABSTRACT

A précis of helminth parasite infections and a host–parasite checklist are presented for the following 14 species of waterfowl from the Chihuahua Desert in the United States and Mexico: Chen rossii, Chen caerulescens, Anas platyrhynchos, Anas diazi, Anas acuta, Anas strepera, Anas americana, Anas clypeata, Anas cyanoptera, Anas crecca, Bucephala albeola, Oxyura jamaicensis, Fulica americana, and Podiceps nigricollis. There was a total of 127 species of helminths recovered from the 14 species of waterfowl. Total abundance, which included data available for 12 species of waterfowl, was 134,202 (mean = 11,184, median = 1,376, and 95% confidence limit [CL] = 14,485). Mean species richness ranged from 1.5 in Ross's goose, C. rossii, to 4.3 in the bufflehead, B. albeola. Host mean abundance ranged from 7.5 in the Mexican duck, A. diazi, and green-winged teal, A. crecca, to a high of 811 for the ruddy duck, O. jamaicensis. Ninety-one percent of the helminth species were generalists. Most specialists were associated with the American coot, F. americana (7), and the eared grebe, P. nigricollis (5). Percent helminth species contribution was cestodes 45%, nematodes 25%, trematodes 22%, and acanthocephalans 8%. The most commonly occurring helminth species among the 14 host species were the trematode Notocotylus attenuatus (12), the cestode Cloacotaenia megalops (10), the acanthocephalan Corynosoma constrictum (9), and the nematode Capillaria anatis (6). Low ingestion of invertebrates may have contributed to the lower number of helminth species and abundance in wintering and spring dabbling ducks (Anatini). Wild dabbling ducks ranging in age from 6 mo to 8 yr and 8 mo were infected with helminth parasites. Helminth parasite data from resident and nesting hosts and pre-fledged young birds indicated as many as 43 helminth life cycles may be occurring in the Chihuahua Desert. Host–parasite species checklists are included.

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