Navigation Links
Die-offs of band-tailed pigeons connected to newly discovered parasite
Date:7/2/2014

A new pathogen has been discovered by scientists investigating major die-offs of pigeons native to North America, according to studies led by the University of California, Davis, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Scientists were able to implicate this new parasite, along with the ancient parasite Trichomonas gallinae, in the recent deaths of thousands of Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeons. The die-offs occurred during multiple epidemics in California's Central Coast and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. Scientists named the new pathogen Trichomonas stableri.

Avian trichomonosis is an emerging and potentially fatal disease that creates severe lesions that can block the esophagus, ultimately preventing the bird from eating or drinking, or the trachea, leading to suffocation. The disease may date back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth, as lesions indicative of trichomonosis were found recently in T-Rex skeletons. The disease may also have contributed to the decline of the passenger pigeon, whose extinction occurred exactly 100 years ago.

Epidemics of the disease can result in the death of thousands of birds in a short amount of time. An outbreak in Carmel Valley killed an estimated 43,000 birds in 2007.

"The same parasite species that killed band-tailed pigeons during the outbreaks were also killing the birds when there weren't outbreaks," said lead author Yvette Girard, a postdoctoral scholar with the Wildlife Health Center in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine at the time of the studies. "This indicates there may be other factors at play in the die-offs."

"We are now investigating what triggers these die-offs, which may be caused by the congregation of infected and vulnerable birds during certain environmental conditions, or even spillover from another nearby species," said principal investigator Christine Johnson, a professor with the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center.

Between winter 2011 and spring 2012, there were eight mortality events -- defined as more than five dead birds found in the same geographic area during the same time frame. The study said trichomonosis was confirmed in 96 percent of dead, sick or dying birds examined at seven of the mortality events. This disease was also found in:

  • 36 percent of band-tailed pigeons at wildlife rehabilitation centers

  • 11 percent of hunter-killed band-tailed pigeons

  • 4 percent of the birds caught live and released

"What makes this disease more troublesome for band-tailed pigeons is their low reproductive rate -- about one chick per year -- and also that these events are occurring in the wintertime," said co-author Krysta Rogers, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. "That means almost all the birds we're losing during events are adult birds. They're being killed before they have the ability to reproduce in the spring."

Mortality events in band-tailed pigeons have been reported in California at least since 1945, but have increased during the last decade, with outbreaks reported in six of the last 10 years.

"Going into the study, we expected to find a single, highly virulent species of Trichomonas in birds sampled at outbreaks," Girard said. "Having two species killing birds at these large-scale mortality events is surprising."

Necropsies of the birds were conducted at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory at UC Davis and the Wildlife Investigations Laboratory at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Both studies were funded by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The study naming the new species of parasite is published in the journal International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife. The study that explains how trichomonosis is affecting the band-tailed pigeon is published in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution.


'/>"/>

Contact: Yvette Girard
yagirard@ucdavis.edu
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Great lakes waterfowl die-offs: Finding the source
2. How pigeons may smell their way home
3. Mutant gene responsible for pigeons head crests
4. Cancer, bioelectrical signals and the microbiome connected
5. How memory and schizophrenia are connected
6. Health Affairs examines successes and missing links in connected health
7. Genetic risk for schizophrenia is connected to reduced IQ
8. Stocking Florida bass in Texas reservoirs may alter stream systems connected to stocked reservoirs
9. Measuring dispersal -- how well are soft-sediment invertebrate communities connected on the seafloor?
10. DNA barcoding verified the discovery of a highly disconnected crane fly species
11. Newly identified gene provides reliable visual cue for oil palm fruit ripeness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Die-offs of band-tailed pigeons connected to newly discovered parasite
(Date:2/8/2017)... The biometrics market has reached a ... organizations, desires to better authenticate or identify users ... challenge questions), biometrics is quickly working its way ... is driven by use cases, though there traditionally ... uses cases, with consumer-facing use cases encompassing authentication, ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... 7, 2017 Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE ... will present at the LEERINK Partners 6th Annual Global ... on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10 a.m. Eastern ... presentation can be accessed at http://wsw.com/webcast/leerink28/zbh .  The ... via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor Relations website at http://investor.zimmerbiomet.com ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... -- Texas Biomedical Research Institute announced that its Board of Trustees ... the Institute,s new President and CEO. Dr. Schlesinger will take ... is currently the Chair of the Department of Microbial Infection ... Biology at Ohio State University. "We are delighted ... of Texas Biomed," said Dr. James O. Rubin , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... portfolio to include an array of biochemical analyses critical for Lead Discovery. ... drive their hit-to-lead and SAR programs, including inhibitor potency and selectivity, mechanism of ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... Minn. , Feb. 23, 2017  Imanis ... new product line of oncolytic vaccinia viruses for ... Corporation as part of Genelux,s proprietary, vaccinia virus-based ... are excited to enter into a partnership with ... selected oncolytic vaccinia viruses for use in research," ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... The Greater Gift Initiative, ... partnership with Compass Research . GGI's mission is to advance global health and ... child in need in honor of each clinical trial volunteer. The vision of GGI ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... -- Aratana Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETX), a pet therapeutics company focused ... for companion animals, will host a live conference call on ... financial results from the fourth quarter and full year ended ... may access the audio webcast or use the ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: